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HMS has bought eWON

Longtime CiA member HMS Industrial Networks has acquired the Belgium-based company eWON. eWON is a provider of Internet-based remote access routers. The purchase price amounts to € 30 million.

Paul, Staffan, Serge Pierre Crokaert, eWON CTO and co-founder, Staffan Dahlström, CEO HMS, Serge Bassem, eWON CEO and co-founder (Photo: HMS)

EWON WAS FOUNDED IN 2001 and is headquartered in Nivelles, Belgium. With subsidiaries in the USA and Japan, the company offers communication products and services for industrial applications such as for remote access to programmable logic controllers (PLCs), data collection applications, and cloud-based routing software. With more than 15 years of experience, eWON employs 57 people of which 13 are product development engineers. The company has a world-wide sales network with distributors in 45 countries.

“We see great opportunities to further strengthen our business and technology platform by gaining access to HMS’s well-established development organization and sales channels,” said Serge Bassem, CEO and co-founder of eWON. “We are excited to be joining HMS. Its knowledge in industrial communication will be a great asset for our ongoing development projects and new technologies in future,” said Pierre Crokaert, CTO and co-founder.

“eWON’s products are great complements to HMS’s product range,” said Staffan Dahlström, CEO of HMS Networks AB. “Its strong position primarily in the market for remote access to PLCs providing a secure ‘data tunnel’ between a software application and a remote machine will complement and reinforce HMS’s existing remote management offering in the form of Netbiter. eWON is world-leading when it comes to PLC remote access and joining the two teams and operations will create a strong market position and unique value proposition to our OEM partners and worldwide customer universe.”

Terms and time schedule

The acquisition was completed on February 5, 2016 on which date 60 % of the shares in eWON were acquired directly from the sellers – Serge Bassem and Pierre Crokaert – and 40 % of the shares were acquired indirectly through the acquisition of all of the shares in FAR SPRL, a Belgian limited liability company, whose only business activity is the holding of shares in eWON, wholly owned by the sellers. The acquisition does not require any regulatory clearances. eWON was consolidated into the HMS Group as of 1 February 2016.

The acquisition was financed through new credit facilities and the issuance of new shares in HMS Networks to the sellers. The purchase price amounts to €30 million on a cash-free/debt-free basis. While Serge Bassem and Pierre Crokaert will continue to lead eWON in their current roles, the two company founders have also become two of the top ten shareholders in HMS Networks.

Acquisition rationale and future development

eWON’s strong position on the European and US markets is expected to widen HMS’s customer base and to provide a stronger footprint on the market for remote management of PLCs. The acquisition will strengthen HMS’s existing Netbiter position and create complementing sales channels. The additional engineering resources and experience are important additions to HMS’s current offering, and eWON’s world-wide distribution sales channels will give HMS access to a wider market. In addition, HMS’s experience within manufacturing and logistics will provide opportunities for improved efficiency and sustained profitability in eWON.

With this acquisition, HMS aims to become a market leader in providing remote access and remote monitoring within the industrial communications market. HMS has been a member of CAN in Automation for 21 years. The acquisition gives HMS access to a successful distribution network in Europe and North America and adds around 15 development engineers to HMS’s total R&D resources. The extended R&D resources are expected to increase flexibility generating opportunities to develop new solutions in the area of remote management.

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