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United States

Tower company buys large gearbox maker in America

In the US, Tower Tech Holdings, a Wisconsin-based manufacturer of wind turbine towers, has bought Brad Foote Gear Works of Illinois, the largest maker of wind turbine gearboxes in the US. Brad Foote, established in 1924, provides gearboxes to manufacturers of turbines up to 2.5 MW. The list includes Clipper Wind, which has had gearbox problems with is new Liberty turbine (page 42). "We've been focusing our efforts at Brad Foote on wind for four or five years," says J Cameron Drecoll, Brad Foote's CEO. "We will be about 60% dedicated to wind next year." Brad Foote is about to become the world's third-largest gearbox supplier, according to Drecoll. The company has two plants in Illinois and one in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "I saw it as an opportunity for Brad Foote to go public in a little different way by joining with Tower Tech, which was already a public company," Drecoll says. "It gives us synergy in the customers we deal with." Drecoll also sees the transaction as an opportunity for continued growth in the wind business through acquisition and expansion. "We're going to continue on this path," he says. "You can grow as fast as you can manage the growth and we've grown the last couple of years at a 50% rate."

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