Friday, November 10, 2006

Centro Inc. has acquired BAT Pump & Supply Co. for more than $1 million. Centro distributes industrial solutions to the manufacturing industry, including valves, filters and pumps. The acquisition of El Dorado, Ark.-based BAT, an industrial pumps distributor, will further expand Centro's pump business, says Centro president Michael Gallagher.

This is the second acquisition by Centro this year and the third since Gallagher and partner David Forell took over the company in December 2001: In April 2006, Centro purchased Shreveport, La.-based Pelican Industrial Equipment Co., a distributor of pumps and compressors; in October 2003, Centro acquired Green Controls, Inc., of Little Rock, a supplier of flow control solutions.

The acquisition of BAT gives Centro exclusive distribution of Flowserve's Durco line in northern Louisiana, eastern Texas and southern Arkansas. It also enables the company "to offer additional world-class products and engineering solutions for companies in the process flow market across South Arkansas and North Louisiana," Gallagher says.

Process flow covers everything that flows through pipes in manufacturing environments - from milk and beer to gasoline and bleach. Centro sells products that help to flow, control and measure those materials. Among Centro's clients are giant oil refinery Valero Energy Corp. and Coors Brewing Co.

Being able to offer a one-stop shop for manufacturers encouraged Centro to buy BAT.

"If I want to sell a solution for refining gasoline, or brewing beer, I need to be able to sell valves, filters, instruments and pumps," Gallagher says.

Founded in 1995, BAT's pumps complement Centro's valve business.

"Now Centro has everything in its arsenal," says BAT president Bill Perrin.

As part of the acquisition, which closed on Oct. 31, BAT's facility and four employees will become part of Centro. Its $2.2 million in annual sales will bring Centro's total sales to $27 million next year, Gallagher says. Perrin is retiring, but will continue to serve as a consultant on an as-needed basis for the next three years.

Perrin was first approached by Gallagher in July and decided to accept Centro's buyout offer.

"I planned to work for a few more years," says the 60-year-old Perrin, "but realized that maybe when I want to retire I won't have anybody interested in buying, so I went ahead and sold."

Headquartered in Memphis, Centro now has branches in Nashville, Little Rock, Shreveport and El Dorado. Gallagher says the company will likely double its El Dorado facility's size in the near future. In January 2007, Centro expects to launch a new Web site, which will offer online purchases.
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