NEW YORK, NY — Rheem Manufacturing Co. and Paloma Industries (Nagoya, Japan) have reached an agreement to acquire the Australian and Asian water heater business of Southcorp Holdings Ltd. The acquisition was effective Dec. 31, 2001.

According to Rheem, 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. The acquisition also 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. Products are produced under the Rheem, Vulcan, Solahart, and Hot-stream brand names. The transaction does not include the acquisition of Southcorp’s American Water Heater Co., based in 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, Rheem president and ceo. “It’s our intention to reinforce existing customer relationships with new products and to further expand Rheem’s presence throughout the region.”

Publication date: 01/14/2002