The Ideal Acquisition

114-year-old company saved after being set to shut down

A dependable mainstay of Ohio’s electric repair market—in business for over a century and slated for shutdown this past May—has been saved by new ownership. Ideal Electric Company, formerly owned by Hyundai Heavy Industries of South Korea, announced Wednesday it was acquired by a privately held affiliate of Gulf Electroquip Ltd. of Houston, Texas.

Ideal Electric manufactures electric motors and generators, switchgear and control systems for all applications including industrial, oil, gas and petrochemical, water and infrastructure, pulp and paper, air handling, marine, mining, power generation and renewable energy. Ohioans have referred to Ideal Electric as “The Company” for over a century. As USA Today reported in May, a WARN Act notice filed with the state Office of Workforce Development by Hyundai at the time said it will lay off its remaining employees by July 12. 103 employees had already been laid off in 2016, leaving only 16 bargaining unit employees remaining. “HIEC anticipates that these layoffs will be permanent,” Hyundai Ideal’s human resources manager Wendi Knapp wrote at the time. That was, until Gulf and its affiliates swooped in at the last second to save the day.

Gulf Electroquip, meanwhile, has literally weathered the storm. The company’s Houston facility is up and running without any major damages to equipment or flooding from Hurricane Harvey, a representative from the company told Electrical Apparatus in a phone call, saying the only minor obstacle was getting employees back to work, as many were forced to leave their homes and face extensive clean-up. The plant, established in 1956 as a factory authorized repair facility for OEMs, is over 538,000 square feet, including crane capacity up to 50,000 pounds, according to the company’s website.

The founding team, led by entrepreneurs George Jackson, Jim Petersen, Jr. and Nicholas Phillips, is headquartered in Houston. Petersen, a 3rd generation family owned electric machinery manufacturer, and President of Gulf Electroquip, said in Wednesday’s press release, “As an electrical engineer myself I’ve known of, and respected Ideal Electric’s market leadership in power equipment and we are incredibly honored to have this opportunity to renew and extend Ideal Electric’s service to hundreds of marquee customers around the world. We are all looking forward to this new venture in Ohio and to being a positive member of the community in Mansfield as we roll up our sleeves and get back to work serving the loyal customers of Ideal Electric.”

Under new ownership, many current Ideal Electric associates have retained their positions, and additional, new associates are expected to be hired as the organization ramps up, the press release stated. Customers of the former Hyundai Ideal Electric Co. are expected to be fully serviced and all warranties expected to be honored. Orders for parts, service and new and replacement machines will be accepted and fulfilled immediately, Ideal says.

“Gulf Electroquip has for more than 60 years been supporting the oil and gas industry in new, repair and remanufactured electric motors and generators. The companies will be synergistically operated, but managed separately with ownership headquartered in Houston. Ideal Electric’s associates in Mansfield will be led by a senior management team, headed by a long-time supervisor who will return to the company,” Sara Pines, of Ideal’s public relations department, told EA. “Ownership will apply its experience from the bust to boom cycles of the oil and gas business to accelerate Ideal Electric’s future success. Gulf Electroquip’s customers will benefit from substantially greater engineering and manufacturing capabilities as well as an additional northern distribution point for our drilling industry customers.”

“The industry has admired the Ideal Electric name and the robustness of the products for more than a century,” said Nicholas Phillips, Founding Team member. “We intend to fully support legacy products through a renewed focus on service, parts and repair, while also expanding our product offering with innovative technologies and new commercial partnerships,” added Phillips.

The purchase of Ideal Electric returns the business, established in 1903, to private hands and allows for “all options to be on the table in Richland County as the Company is re-imaged in the globally competitive marketplace,” the press release concluded.

***Editor’s Note: Ideal Electric is not to be confused with Ideal Industries, Inc., the electrical connections manufacturer based in Sycamore, Ill.

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