Cincinnati company acquires robotic handling firm: EXCLUSIVE

Steve Watkins Staff Reporter- Cincinnati Business Courier

Cincinnati holding company C.M. Paula Co. has made its latest acquisition by purchasing West Chester-based Remtec Automation.

This marks Mason-based C.M. Paula’s seventh acquisition since 2005. That’s when it shifted to operating as a private equity firm.

Keith Rosnell sold Remtec, which makes robotic material handling systems. He will remain with the firm as president and CEO of Remtec, said Greg Ionna, C.M. Paula’s president and CEO.

“Keith was looking to sell, and it fit all of our parameters,” Ionna told me on Thursday.

Rosnell had expanded Remtec as much as he could and needed more capital to reach the next level, Ionna said. That’s where C.M. Paula comes in. It buys companies that are typically under $10 million in annual revenue, have the opportunity to grow, possess a strong management team and can use its capital and expertise in areas such as finance and strategy.

“We look to buy it, grow it and hold it,” Ionna said. “A lot of these companies don’t have the sophistication.”

C.M. Paula makes money from the profits of its operating companies, rather than from increasing their value and selling them. Most private equity firms do the latter.

Remtec’s robots move materials, assemble parts, package items and load parts onto pallets for industrial companies. It primarily serves the auto industry, but it’s getting into consumer packaging companies, too. C.M. Paula expects to help Remtec grow by expanding its customer base into new industries.

“There is no question that Remtec’s customers will be the key beneficiaries of this new business relationship,” Rosnell said in a news release.

He wouldn’t provide annual revenue figures for Remtec or details about the purchase price.

C.M. Paula now has $35 million in annual revenue through four operating companies. Its last deal was in May 2012, when it bought Art Technologies. Remtec and Art Technologies are its two manufacturing companies. It also owns two consumer product companies: greeting card maker Up With Paper and geology children’s education firm Geo Central.

Charles McCullough founded C.M. Paula in 1958 as a greeting card company, and the 83-year-old still owns it.

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