Honeywell Acquires Rugged Mobile Vendor EMS Technologies

Honeywell is buying mobile-computing company EMS Technologies for $491 million. The deal gives Honeywell a foothold in rugged products for satellite communications and warehousing.

Honeywell International, a major technology player in aviation, military and government, is acquiring EMS Technologies, a leading provider of rugged mobile-computing and satellite communications for industrial environments.

Honeywell announced the deal on June 13, and the company plans to pay $33 per share, or approximately $491 million, for EMS.

The purchase allows Honeywell to boost its rugged mobile-computing and satellite-communications offering for the aerospace industry. EMS' wearable mobile-computing products are used in the government, military, transportation and warehousing.

"EMS strengthens our core mobile-computing business and expands our addressable market with complementary new products, channel partners, and entry into the warehousing and port segments that we believe will be growth drivers for the business," Roger Fradin, Honeywell's Automation and Control Solutions president and CEO, said in a statement. "This also represents an opportunity to demonstrate our proven acquisition integration process."

EMS also produces secure satellite-based asset-tracking and messaging technologies.

Other EMS products include antennas, vehicle-mounted PCs and rugged data storage and surveillance software for airplanes and gathering data. EMS also provides broadband airline Internet connectivity.

Meanwhile, air ambulance fleets track flights using EMS satellite communications systems.

Defense industry vendors Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon use EMS' satellite technologies for secure communications and electronic-warfare systems.

In mobile computing, EMS' LXE division makes rugged mobile devices such as the LXE Tecton handheld for data capture in supply chains for shipping and retail. These devices run Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.5 or Windows CE 6.0. The keypad is resistant to airborne and spilled chemicals. It can also withstand drops and shock.

LXE also manufactures a line of Marathon rugged PCs for extreme working environments. They feature screens readable outdoors, a biometric fingerpad, a solid-state hard drive and GPS. In addition, they can survive multiple 4-foot drops to concrete.

Rugged mobile PCs from LXE are used in chemical plants, oil refineries and cold environments such as cold-storage food warehouses.

Other manufacturers of rugged mobile-computing products for industrial environments include General Dynamics Itronix, Mobile Computing, Motorola, Panasonic and Xplore.

"Combining EMS products into our aerospace business means that Honeywell can now deliver the next big leap in satcom technology, a key growth area for aerospace," Tim Mahoney, Honeywell's aerospace president and CEO, said in a statement. "Our customers will greatly benefit from these new products and solutions, enabling them to leverage the strong global growth of high-speed wireless and satellite data services."

The acquisition will be completed by the end of the third quarter, according to Honeywell.

Honeywell's history dates back to 1885, with a background in heating before it ventured into mainframe computers and aerospace. Today, Honeywell also makes handheld bar-code scanners for the health care industry to register specimens during testing and reduce errors during medication dispensing.