Transcat Buys Westcon for $7.2 Million

Aug 28, 2008 12:10 AM  By

Transcat Inc., a marketer of grade test, measurement and calibration instruments and services, has acquired competitor Westcon Inc. in a cash-stock transaction valued at approximately $7.2 million.

Based in Portland, OR, Westcon is a regional distributor of test and measurement instruments serving about 1,800 customers in the Western U.S. It is only a fraction of the size of publicly held Transcat, which serves more than 15,000 customers throughout the U.S. and parts of Canada.

Jay Woychick, vice president of marketing for Transcat, says the acquisition “gives us a foothold” in the calibration market in the Pacific Northwest.

“Westcon’s been in the business for 25 years, and we’ve competed against them out on the West Coast for a long time,” he says. “Our closest lab is Los Angeles. When we sold in the Pacific Northwest, we were competing against a strong, local, high-quality competitor.”

Woychick adds that the companies are an ideal match because they share they same values.

“Westcon is almost a mini-Transcat—it matches Transcat’s culture,” he says.

He continues that both companies have a strong focus on providing quality products and top-notch customer support.

Transcat will maintain the Westcon brand for now, but in 12 to 18 months “it will evolve to become Transcat,” Woychick says. Most of Westcon’s approximately 30 employees will remain in their current positions and all of the facilities will be retained, including Westcon’s distribution center in Portland, he adds.

The West Coast DC was a key selling point for Transcat.

“Right now we ship everything out of our DC in Rochester,” Woychick says. “So what we’ll end up with is a product distribution point in Portland, which will serve the Western states. Rather than taking five to seven days to ship something from Rochester to LA, it will only take a day or two. That has a tremendous upside for us in terms of growing our share in that marketplace.”

Transcat will also gain Westcon’s ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory, which provides calibration and repair services in a variety of disciplines including electrical, temperature, pressure and torque. The lab also offers on site calibration services at customer locations.

The deal also represents Transcat’s entry into the wind energy market, by way of the fact that Westcon just entered that market earlier this year.

“Alternative energy is a hot topic in the U.S. today — and Westcon has broken into the wind energy market with a key wind supplier,” Woychick says. “From what we’ve seen, it’s going to be a significant market. Independent studies have told us that the U.S. is the number one market for wind energy over the next five years.”

As part of the deal, David Goodhead, president of Westcon, will join Transcat as a vice president, and will continue to run operations in Portland. His wife, Jan Rehnquist, will run product distribution out of the same location.

The unique products Westcon carries will now be incorporated into Transcat’s product line. Unlike Transcat, Westcon does not have a print catalog. Their products will be included in Transcat’s 750-page master catalog, which comes out once a year, and will also be featured on the company’s Website.

Transcat, which offers calibration, 3-D metrology and repair services in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico through its 11 testing labs, has seen annual growth of around 15% a year for the past three years.

Woychick attributes this to “our sales approach (the company uses dedicated sales teams for new and existing customers) and our expanded presence on the Web.”

In addition to its master catalog, Transcat also drops 125-page supplements four times a year; and mini-catalogs (12 to 48 pages) 15 to 20 times a year.