NEW YORK, NY — Rheem Manufacturing Co. here and Paloma Industries, Nagoya, Japan, have reached a definitive agreement to acquire the Australasian water heater businesses of Southcorp Holdings Ltd., effective December 31, 2001. Rheem says the purchases further solidify its position as one of the world’s leading producers of storage water heaters for residential and commercial applications.

The acquisition includes Southcorp’s water heater businesses in its home base of Australia, as well as in New Zealand, plus its solar water heater company, Solahart, also based in Australia. In all, Rheem operates three water heater production facilities in Australia and New Zealand. In addition, the acquisition included Southcorp’s interest in Hotstream, a joint venture in China.

Currently, this group of companies employs about 1,400 people and has annual revenues of about $150 million. The transaction does not include the acquisition of Southcorp’s American Water Heater Co., Johnson City, TN.

“Rheem Australia, Rheem New Zealand, and Solahart are leaders in their respective markets with strong manufacturing, sales, and service organizations,” said Gary Tapella, president and ceo, “and it is our intention to reinforce existing customer relationships with new products and to further expand Rheem’s presence throughout the region.”

Publication date: 01/01/2002