Tuesday, November 4, 2003

A 32-year-old Memphis company has bought a Little Rock competitor that opens new markets in north Louisiana.

Flow control specialist Centro Inc. of Memphis closed its acquisition of Little Rock's Green Controls Inc. on Friday, said Centro president Mike Gallagher. Negotiations began in March.

"We acquired their assets and identity," Gallagher said.

Centro sells, repairs and maintains valves, filters and measuring devices used by food processors, refineries, chemical plants and other facilities.

Centro Inc. had 44 employees before the acquisition. Green had eight, four of whom joined Centro.

Former Green Controls owner Bob Green joined Centro as a sales consultant for three years.

Green Controls had an office in Shreveport and represented a flow-control company exclusively in northern Louisiana. Centro acquired that asset in the deal, providing the Memphis firm an entry point to north Louisiana, Gallagher said.

A former executive with Thomas & Betts, Gallagher joined with Dave Forell, former chief financial officer for Catherine's Stores Corp., to purchase Centro Inc. in December 2001.

Forell is vice president and chief financial officer of Centro.

Centro's sales revenues increased 16 percent in 2002.

Gallagher attributed growth to strong, experienced people at Centro with good relationships in the business, partnering with new vendors, and opening of new territories in Mississippi and Arkansas.

"We are up 11.5 percent (in sales) so far this year. We're hoping for 13 percent," Gallagher said.

The Green Controls acquisition is expected to add $4 million to Centro's sales in 2004, bringing total sales to $18.5 million, he said.

The company has longer- term plans for sales to reach $40 million to $45 million in 10 years.

- Jerome Obermark

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