Sioux Falls-based Raven Industries Inc. bought SBG Innovatie BV and its affiliate Navtronics BVBA in May. The Dutch business was the first company acquired by Raven outside North America. It specializes in high-accuracy implement-steering technologies, which complement Raven products.
The new brand is called SBG Powered by Raven and is part of the company’s applied technology division. It ultimately will use the Raven name.
“It fits really well into our strategy, and for ATD it’s been about international market growth, new product innovation and relationships with original equipment manufacturers. SBG gave us all three,” said Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin, Raven’s vice president of corporate development.
SBG sales were $1 million in the fiscal third quarter, according to Raven’s November earnings report. That wasn’t enough though to offset “the anticipated revenue decline of non-strategic legacy customers.”
The integration, however, is progressing as planned, Raven said.
SBG and Raven held a joint sales event in July in Europe, established multiple customer visits and lined up product trainings. True product integration is expected to take 18 months, with products available in the market in 2016.
“The two companies didn’t overlap very much in (geography) and products, so we were a good complement to each other,” said Rik Van Bruggen, SBG’s Netherlands-based business development manager. “We benefit from each other’s dealer network, expertise and solutions.”
The two also enjoy common business cultures, he said.
“We both have a straight-forward approach to business combined with agricultural roots and values shared by many of our employees.”
SBG steering technology is especially useful for high-value vegetables and other crops found in Europe, such as tulips, and they will help Raven’s North American product portfolio with higher value specialty crops, Herseth-Sandlin said.
She, too, pointed to a common culture between the two companies.
“You can talk not just engineer to engineer but farm kid to farm kid. It’s that fuller scope of understanding the promise of technology and what’s going to be the most valuable to the end user in the field.”
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