SKF Group acquires Michigan manufacturer for $1.25B


Workers at Sweden-based manufacturer SKF Group handle a roller bearing for the Las Vegas High Roller, the world’s tallest observation wheel. Photo via

SKF Group in Sweden said this week that it has acquired an Ann Arbor-based manufacturer — which makes bearings at a plant in Norton Shores — for $1.25 billion.

The Kaydon Corp. operates a plant in Norton Shores that employs about 175 people and produces custom bearings for the aerospace and heavy equipment markets, according to Muskegon Area First.


SKF said Kaydon is a industrial manufacturer of three product types: friction control products, velocity control products and specialty products, including environmental services.

Kaydon products are sold around the world, with 62 percent of them sold in North America.

In 2012, Kaydon had sales of $475 million, with an adjusted operating profit of around 16 percent.

The company has more than 2,100 employees.

Kaydon had been publicly held and was traded on the New York Stock Exchange, but following the completion of the merger, Kaydon will be de-listed, according to an SKF announcement on the deal.

Executives at Kaydon in Norton Shores did not reply to a request for an interview by the Business Journal.

“I am delighted that Kaydon and its employees will be joining the SKF Group,” said Tom Johnstone, SKF president/CEO. “Kaydon brings to SKF a highly complementary product portfolio and an improved customer and geographic presence. They have a strong leadership team, as well as highly skilled and qualified employees.”

When Kaydon released its second-quarter earnings in July, chairman and CEO James O’Leary said its military orders were “lower, due to anticipated reductions in military activity and timing.”

“However, this was more than offset by strong wind energy bookings in the quarter, supporting our view that the wind energy business has bottomed and will continue to show signs of improvement as we look a few quarters ahead,” O’Leary said.

SKF Group

SKF’s products and services involve roller bearings, seals, mechatronics and lubrication systems, according to the SKF website.

SKF says it has a presence in many industries: cars and light trucks, aerospace, wind energy, railway, metal, machine tool, medical and food and beverage.

Goteborg, Sweden-based SKF has about 140 manufacturing sites in 28 countries and markets its products in more than 130 countries.

Among its corporate goals is SKF BeyondZero, which is a strategy to create a positive impact on the environment.

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