Omaha Standard Acquires Fontaine

OMAHA STANDARD announced July 31 that it had acquired Fontaine Truck Equipment.

Eric Kluver, CFO of Omaha Standard, says the acquisition creates an outstanding fit because Fontaine's eight southern branches will give the company representation in a region of the country where it “traditionally has not been particularly strong.”

Fontaine is a leading distributor/installer of commercial truck bodies and truck equipment and has been in business continuously since the early 1940s. Headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, the company has other branches in Indianapolis, Louisville, Nashville, Charlotte, Atlanta, Dallas, Ft. Lauderdale, and Miami.

Omaha Standard, established in 1926 in Council Bluffs, Iowa, is a manufacturer of service/utility bodies, platform bodies, hydraulic hoists, hydraulic liftgates, and other equipment for commercial trucks and markets its products through 150 truck equipment distributors across the country. The company recently moved into a new 210,000-sq-ft state-of-the-art manufacturing plant featuring an automotive-type dip tank electrocoat paint system.

Kluver says Fontaine's most attractive assets are its employee base, its chassis pools — Ford in Birmingham and Louisville and GM in Nashville — and its Ford ship-thru in Louisville.

“As with any other successful company, Fontaine's biggest asset is its people, which is the major reason why we found this to be an attractive acquisition for Omaha Standard,” he says. “Their 200-plus employees are all highly trained professionals.”

He says no changes in personnel or operations are planned as a result of the acquisition, announced July 31.

“We presently see no need for any changes to Fontaine's organizational structure, including employees and operating procedures,” he says. “In other words, (Fontaine) will continue to run pretty much as a stand-alone operation. In addition to the Omaha Standard product it distributes, Fontaine will continue to supply the truck equipment industry with high-quality products from other top manufacturers, including Iowa Mold and Tooling Company (IMT), Auto Crane Company, and Fontaine International.”

Kluver says Omaha Standard had “no intention” of acquiring a truck equipment distributor, but the Marmon Group, which owned Fontaine, approached Omaha Standard in March about purchasing the company.

“After investigating the possibility, we determined that strategically it made sense for us and that the transition could be pretty seamless, given the fact that experienced, high-quality management was already in place,” he says.

Says Tom Moser, Omaha Standard co-president: “Fontaine Truck Equipment has been a very successful company for a number of years, with a solid reputation for quality products and workmanship and outstanding customer service. The organization is a great fit for Omaha Standard and we are excited about our partnership with Fontaine and about the future. We are extremely fortunate to have inherited a terrific group of experienced, dedicated professionals.”

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