Inside the Bonomi-Frabo acquisition
‘This is a game-changer’
How significant is the recent news that Bonomi Group acquired Italian-based fittings manufacturer Frabo?
“It’s a huge acquisition for the company,” Bonomi North America Marketing Director Rick Wentzell told Supply House Times.
Bonomi North America General Manager Alberto Malaguti noted Frabo has been one of the major players in Europe for press fittings, in copper, stainless and carbon steel, and bronze, while Rubinetterie Bresciane Bonomi – RB in short — the headquarters of the Bonomi Group in Italy, specialized in stainless and carbon steel press fittings as well as copper-nickel alloys fittings used by major shipyards that manufacturer cruise ships used in North America and the Caribbean as well.
Frabo, Malaguti added, also is heavily involved in the industrial space with focus on gas, steam, compressed air and refrigeration services where large quantities of carbon- and stainless steel are used.
“Frabo was one of our largest competitors and has a longer history in this specific industry,” Malaguti said. “The acquisition and merging of the two companies will create a major press-fittings player in the European market.”
Wentzell said the European press fittings market, although it generates higher volumes than the U.S. market, is not considered as crowded when it comes to manufacturers.
“This will be a change for the European market in terms of volume,” Malaguti said. “Instead of Bonomi growing its business on its own and taking longer to grow market share, this acquisition puts us where we need to be at a much faster pace. We are going to be one of the very few manufacturers in the world that can make press fittings in six different materials, in metric and imperial sizes.
“Frabo has a longer history as a fittings company and are much more into fittings than we ever have been before. We are trying to extend our presence in that market. Frabo on the European side projects sales of about 50 million euros this year, and they haven’t even touched the North American market yet.”
In terms of what this means for Bonomi’s Charlotte, North Carolina-based North America operation, Malaguti said the acquisition opens up many possibilities. “We now have the potential production capacity and machinery to become a good player for the U.S. market as well. There is a need,” he noted. “The North American market is the second-largest market for the Bonomi Group.”
Wentzell revealed the Frabo name will stay in place, giving Bonomi four distinct brands under the Bonomi Group umbrella. Frabo joins RB, Valpres and Valbia.
“This is a game-changer,” Wentzell said. “Right now, though, we’re making sure we are taking care of the current Frabo customers in Europe.”