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Wenger Manufacturing, Inc.


Wenger Manufacturing, Inc.

About company

With a little ingenuity and a lot of hard work, brothers Joe and Louis Wenger founded the Wenger Mixing Company in a small town in Kansas (USA) in 1935. They then designed a machine that mixed molasses with dry feed ingredients and Thus they began to produce pellets in 1948.

The novel idea of ​​the Wenger brothers created a worldwide industry. And seventy-five years later, Wenger Manufacturing, Inc. remains a family business committed to innovation in the extrusion market.

Today, Wenger offers a range of premium single-screw extruders, twin-screw extruders, dryers / coolers, coating systems, and control systems. A new generation of proud employees work for customer satisfaction in our multiple plants, in our world-class research and development center, and in sales and service offices around the world.

Wenger equipment is unmatched in quality. Perhaps even more important, it is the reputation we have built by having long-lasting partnerships with customers. Lasting because of our dedication, ingenuity, and responsiveness - and our promise to deliver on that commitment for generations to come.


Company News


2+ MIN

5.0 star star star star star

Scott Krebs appointed President of Wenger

In this position, Scott will drive strategic objectives and lead the Wenger team in the US, Denmark, Brazil, and all other countries. In close collaboration with the Marel leadership team, he will drive cross-selling of Marel solutions to customers in the Plant, Pet, and Feed business segment. 'I am very excited to welcome Scott to the role of President of Wenger. Scott has more than 30 years of experience in the field of extrusion technology and is well-known and respected for his many great achievements within Wenger, especially leading the successful build-up and growth of Extru-Tech, a company that is part of Wenger. With Scott on board, we ensure a continuation of the successful Wenger strategy and that we continue to strengthen our position and customer relationships in the Plant, Pet, and Feed business segment', says Arni Sigurdsson, Chief Business Officer and Deputy CEO. Scott joined Wenger in June 1991 and has since had a long and admirable career within Wenger, from an entry position as Project Engineer to the most recent executive role of President, Extru-Tech, a subsidiary of Wenger, focused on extrusion systems to produce human food, pet food, aquatic feed, and animal feed products. Scott has demonstrated excellent customer focus, operational and people leadership, and P&L management, and has been instrumental in building and improving the competitive position of Extru-Tech, resulting in more than 50% of profitable topline revenue coming from aftermarket services. Scott holds a bachelor's degree of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Kansas State University, and he lives in Sabetha, Kansas, US, with his family. On this occasion, Marel would also like to extend a special and personal thank you to Jesper Hjortshøj for his dedication and valuable contribution in leading Wenger as interim President since the acquisition in July 2022. Jesper will continue to support Scott and the Wenger team during the transition and return his full focus to his leadership role as VP of Business Development at Marel. A standalone platform for new and attractive growth markets Wenger will operate as a standalone business division and leverage Marel's global reach and digital solutions to grow and expand the business. Marel will provide strategic direction and is committed to invest in the business and manufacturing capacity to drive commercial synergies and accelerate growth. Wenger enjoys a diversified and loyal customer base ranging from blue-chip pet food processors to startup companies in plant-based proteins. Over 60% of Wenger's revenues derive from pet food, where the company has a leading global position, and over 40% of revenues come from aftermarket services. This has resulted in Wenger's healthy profitability with an EBIT margin of 14-15%, strong cash flow and solid return on invested capital. Q3 2022 was the first quarter where the newly acquired Wenger business was consolidated in Marel's segment reporting under the name of 'Plant, Pet and Feed,' which also included Marel's own sales of retail and food service solutions into this market segment. By Marel All Pet Food 

Market Information

4+ MIN

5.0 star star star star star

Wenger Manufacturing Brazil – A model facility in Latin America

Very early in the morning, Claudio Mathias, Global Director of Sales and Strategy of Maverick – A division of Wenger, picked us up at the hotel located in the Center of Campinas, São Paulo and took us to visit the impressive plant that Wenger and Maverick develop in Brazil, which is worthy of admiration and an example for the whole region. Although this plant takes place in Brazil, its production covers the entire Latin American region, and even on occasion, it takes care of several orders for equipment intended for the European and Asian markets, a topic that will develop later in this article . Upon arrival at the plant, Claudio kindly introduced us to Glauber Rodriguez, Director of the faclity and in charge of all manufacturing details of parts and equipments previously commissioned by different companies that bet on such refined quality of equipments. Once we stepped in the facility we could appreciate the different offices with the personnel in charge of the design of the spare parts, Stock, purchase of raw materials, system department, among other sectors. We sat down and statart a very friendly conversation with Claudio and Glauber, who provide us such important details of both companies, their history and work policy, something inherited from the Wenger brothers more than 75 years after the Company foundation.     The quality, love, professionalism and passion in everything they do comes to light when both Glauber and Claudio tell us how the plant facility and how its production have been growing every year. Although the plant was inaugurated in 2016, since 2019, just at the light of the pandemic that hit the planet, the production of pet food grew and, therefore, the production of equipments and the export of complete lines, not only to the countries of the region, but also to Europe and Asia, due to the high demand the company has in its facility plant from Sabetha Kansas, USA. Something that caught our attention, in addition to the high level of professionalism, is the implementation of Sustainability within the company's strategy, which is reflected in the purchase of regional components of very high quality that allows the design and production of equipment. with higher levels of energy savings.   Production area We couldn't help but be amazed at the cleanliness and level of detail that permeated the 10,000 m2 production area, where we could appreciate the focus and passion with which the plant's engineers and experts worked. The spare parts were arranged in such a way that it was impossible not to distinguish each one of them. It help us to check the quality of the steel and the final product.   Glauber and Claudio showed us the production of Wenger Horizontal Extruders and Dryers, as well as Maverick Extruders, previously commissioned by various pet food companies. Maverick's proposal is to offer the market a line of standard or modified equipment, keeping the principles of integrity, reliability and quality of Wenger equipment, but with greater flexibility. The plant not only manufactures equipment and complete lines of pet food, it also produces equipment for aquaculture and human food, although due to the great growth of the Pet industry in recent years, its production represents 70%. According to Glauber, the 84% of pet food manufacturers worldwide own at least one Wenger piece of equipment.     To say Wenger or Maverick is to say quality, efficiency and sustainability and that´s why Marel company recently didn´t hesitate to acquire Wenger Manufacturing LLC., including all the main commercial activities of the group. According to the company's statement, it was acquired for USD 540 million, although it was agreed to continue the Wenger legacy and its significant impact on the community, as well as Marel shares for Wenger employees. Marel sees great opportunities and is committed to investing in the combined business to accelerate growth. The acquisition is expected to improve margins and profits. Planned initiatives include expanding manufacturing capacity to meet high demand in Wenger's core markets. We say goodbye to Glauber, Claudio and the entire team with the satisfaction the Industry counts with a production facility in Latin America for the manufacturing of pet Food equipments of the highest quality, which also has compliance with the highest processing and quality standards that any country of the so-called first world could sign. A pride for our industry that continues to grow steadily, with alliances with Universities and Research Institutes, to achieve the level of excellence in the production of balanced feed in general, and contribute to the nutrition of the different animal species. Congratulations and Success in the future now hand in hand with Marel, which we´re pretty sure will be able to provide a better service globally, expanding its projects and solutions for the entire feed & food industry and contributing to a great development in terms of energy efficiency, processing and nutrition. Congratulations and all the best for this example company for the world! By: Iván Marquetti All Pet Food

Market Information

6+ MIN

5.0 star star star star star

Marel to acquire Wenger, a global leader in processing solutions for pet food, plant-based proteins, and aqua feed

The acquisition of Wenger is a platform investment into new, complementary and attractive growth markets for Marel and will form the fourth business segment alongside poultry, meat and fish. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions such as anti-trust and approval of Wenger's shareholders. Platform acquisition adding a fourth business segment to Marel, in addition to poultry, meat and fish, and pro-forma, expected to contribute around 10% of Marel's total revenues and 12% of EBITDA. Highly complementary product portfolios and geographic presence with Wenger's industry-leading extrusion and dryer technology focused on the high growth markets of pet food, plant-based proteins and aqua feed. Founded in 1935, Wenger has 500 employees and revenues in 2022 are expected to be USD 190 million, EBITDA USD 32-35 million, and EBIT margin 14-15%. Total investment for the acquisition is USD 540 million and the transaction multiple corresponds to 14x EV/EBITDA adjusted for expected tax benefits of USD 60-70m. Pro-forma leverage following completion of the acquisition is estimated at around 3x net debt to EBITDA, in line with Marel's targeted capital structure of 2-3x net debt to EBITDA. The acquisition is fully in line with Marel's 2017-2026 growth strategy which targets 12% average annual increase in revenue through a balanced mix of organic and acquired growth.   New business segment to become a fourth pillar of the business model A new business segment, based on the Wenger platform, will constitute Marel's fourth pillar alongside poultry, meat and fish, and will be focused on the sizeable and attractive growth markets of pet food, plant-based proteins and aqua feed. On a pro-forma basis, this new business segment will account for around 10% of Marel's total revenues and 12% of combined EBITDA. This new growth platform is an important addition to Marel's product portfolio to meet customers' rising demand for high-quality food and feed that is processed in a sustainable and affordable way. The two companies have a great strategic and cultural fit with highly complementary product portfolios and geographic presence, creating a strong platform to enhance further growth. Wenger shares Marel's passion for innovation and commitment to best-in-class products, backed by an experienced team and long-standing partnerships with customers. Wenger enjoys a diversified and loyal customer base ranging from blue-chip pet food processors to startup companies in plant-based proteins. This has resulted in healthy profitability, strong cash flow and solid return on invested capital. Capitalizing on Marel's global reach and digital platform, the two companies are well positioned to explore future growth opportunities together.   Growth platform into new and attractive growth markets The global petfood and aqua feed markets are estimated at over EUR 100 billion and EUR 50 billion respectively and growing at 5-6% annually. The plant-based protein market is currently around EUR 7 billion and expected to grow 15-20% annually. The addressable market for Marel and Wenger in solutions and services within pet food, plant-based proteins and aqua feed is estimated to be around EUR 2 billion with expected annual growth of 4-6%, in line with Marel's long-term market growth expectations. Marel aims to grow faster than the market, based on its continuous innovation and global reach. Throughout the years, Marel has gradually expanded its playing field and is now the only pure-play provider of full-line solutions, software, and services to the poultry, meat, and fish industries. In the vision solidified in 2016, the scope was widened from the three animal proteins to focus more generally on transforming food processing. In 2020, Marel announced an increased focus on adjacent markets and in 2021 it formally established a business development division focused on pet food and plant-based proteins. Adding Wenger's strong capabilities in that area, Marel is accelerating its journey and is well positioned to capitalize on providing transformational solutions to the large and attractive growth markets of pet food, plant-based proteins, and aqua feed. Marel sees great opportunities and is committed to invest in the combined business to accelerate growth. The acquisition is expected to be margin and earnings enhancing. Planned initiatives include expanding manufacturing capacity to respond to high demand in Wenger's core markets. Aftermarket revenues represent over 40% of Wenger's revenues, and Marel's global reach and digital platform will support a more proactive aftermarket approach to better service customers around the world.   Transaction highlights and timeline Marel has agreed to acquire Wenger Manufacturing LLC., including all relevant business activities of the group. The total investment for the acquisition is USD 540 million. Thereof, USD 530 million is the purchase price on a cash and debt-free basis (enterprise value). The remaining USD 10 million is a combination of a contribution to a not-for-profit private foundation, to continue the legacy of Wenger and its meaningful impact on the community, as well as Marel shares for Wenger employees. The purchase price will be paid with cash at hand and existing credit facilities. Discussion with selling shareholders regarding partial consideration in Marel shares is ongoing and will be concluded prior to closing. The transaction will also result in expected tax benefits of USD 60-70 million and the adjusted transaction multiple corresponds to around 14x EV/EBITDA. The acquisition will be financed through Marel's strong balance sheet and existing credit facilities. To preserve operational headroom, Marel has signed a EUR 150 million bridge facility from BNP Paribas Fortis SA/NV. Assuming a full cash payment, pro-forma leverage following completion of the acquisition is estimated to be around 3x net debt/EBITDA, compared to Marel's targeted capital structure of 2-3x net debt/EBITDA. The closing of the acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including anti-trust and shareholder approval of Wenger, which is expected to take place during Q2 2022. Arni Oddur Thordarson, CEO of Marel, commented: 'We are thrilled to join forces with the great team in Wenger with whom we have a strong strategic and cultural fit. Wenger's passion for innovation and commitment to high-quality solutions, in addition to their excellent customer focus and talent management, are the key attributes Marel is proud to partner with. Wenger is a true leader in its field of providing solutions and services to the pet food industry and aqua feed industries, and has in recent years made its mark on the fast-growing plant-based protein consumer market with best-in-class solutions positioned right in the center point of the value chain.   The Wenger acquisition is in line with our vison of a world where food is produced sustainably and affordably. Throughout the years, Marel has gradually expanded its playing field. This platform acquisition will add the fourth business segment to our business model, in addition to the poultry, meat and fish segments, where we are a global leader in processing solutions, services and software. On a proforma basis, the new segment will account for around 10% of revenues and 12% of combined EBITDA. We see immediate opportunities for growth and value creation by leveraging Marel's global reach and digital platforms in Wenger's sizable addressable markets. The two companies have complementary technologies and a product portfolio that will accelerate the journey to become full-line providers in the respective fields. Marel has a strong financial position to pursue future growth avenues and a proven track record in driving long-term value creation. I am confident Marel will be a good steward for the Wenger business, its talented team and continued local community engagement, and we remain committed to our continued future success.' Trevor Angell, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Wenger, commented: 'Wenger has a long history as an innovative, responsive partner to our customers. The relationships we have built, and the incredible character of our people are central to this. Our long-standing customers worldwide are looking for a trusted partner and local support to keep their operations running at optimal performance. Marel has invested significantly in its global reach and digital platform, which will improve Wenger's ability to be the partner of choice for our clients throughout the long life-cycle of our equipment.  Further, our dedicated team will be joining a large, healthy, international organization where they can grow and see increased opportunities.  During our interaction, it was apparent that there is great strategic and cultural alignment between Wenger and Marel.  Our shared values and vision, our care for customers and employees, and the combined technical strengths of the two companies will create tremendous value in global food production.  We are pleased to be joining forces with Marel, and we are excited for the opportunities our friends and teammates will experience.'   Source: Marel      


5+ MIN

5.0 star star star star star

Interview with Mr. Ed de Souza, Extrusion Systems Process Director of Wenger Manufacturing

Ed de Souza graduated with a degree in Agribusiness at Fort Hays University in Kansas, USA in 1995. He also obtained a master's degree in Business Administration, with a focus on business management at Fundação Getúlio Vargas. Mr de Souza was hired by Wenger Manufacturing Inc in late 1995. Working at Wenger for the past 24 years, he has developed an extensive know-how in food extrusion processing. He has worked in food extrusion research at the Wenger Technical Centre in Sabetha, Kansas, and has knowledge also as a field service technician working with equipment start-ups, process troubleshooting and providing lectures and training. How did you come to be involved in this industry? After graduating with a degree in Agribusiness at Fort Hays University in Kansas, USA, I was interviewing with two multinationals in the commodities business, paperwork related to work visas halted these processes. By chance, I went to visit Sabetha, Kansas, the headquarters for Wenger Manufacturing, Inc., with a college friend, before I returned to Brazil, my home country. At a local high school football game, I met with the service manager for South America and the rest is history. I landed in this business by chance and I believe it was meant to be, as I fell in love with extrusion processing right away. What has been your proudest achievement, whilst working at Wenger? Has the company expanded greatly since you have been part of the team? In 2000, my US work visa expired, and I had to make the decision to move to a different country. Brazil was, at the time, a great market and at full expansion for pet food and aquatic feeds. Our customers needed local support and parts, so I was proud to help starting Wenger conduct business in Brazil. Firstly, our Brazilian office served as a service office and soon after we moved in manufacturing parts and then equipment, before evolving into a full blown modern manufacturing plant in 2013. It is an honour being a founder of Wenger within Brazil and representing Wenger Manufacturing, Inc. I consider this to be a great achievement in my career and, yes, the company has expanded greatly since I have been part of this proud team at this honourable company and I have so much to be thankful for. What are the biggest challenges for your industry, and how do Wenger combat and resolve these issues? The extrusion industry faces challenges that are often overlooked. Most extruded aquafeed manufacturers focus too much on cost accounting, and there is a fine life between being cost effective and losing throughput and product quality. If these areas were focused on, as they are key for product improvement and financial gain, then manufacturers could process better products in larger quantities, using a lot less resources: Raw Materials: Investing a small percentage in formulation cost to provide extrusion friendly ingredients, such as better starch sources and functional proteins, can possibly double the throughput of an extrusion line, using essentially the same fixed assets and fixed cost. Hardware: Reduced capital investment for inferior standard and or inappropriately engineered and configured grinding, extrusion and drying equipment can result in a continued higher processing cost and lower throughput for the life of the equipment, resulting in higher use of resources due to inefficiency.  The lack of proper asset maintenance, which is preventive as opposed to corrective, is a major road block for efficiency and output quality on an extrusion line. Proper preventive maintenance is the very essence of asset preservation: it prolongs the life of productive equipment at a minimum cost, as well as preserving the output quality and ensures reliability. Asset maintenance, especially with extrusion cooking equipment, should not be considered as a lump sum that needs to be reduced in the budget of next year, rather it needs to be viewed as crucial key performance indicator and analysed as cost-per-tonne. In most cases, a planned preventive maintenance programme will represent less than two percent of the total production cost but, if neglected, it can result in throughput loss, product quality decline and loss of clientele. The third topic that serves as a challenge for the industry is control of the processing system. When the two prior points are well managed, process personnel need to be able to precisely control the process for ensuring high quality output on an extrusion line. Processing software has the ability to offer user friendly process tools that ensures a smoother extrusion process and the highest quality product, as well as the ability to provide data for managers to assess and carry out corrective decisions. Wenger has developed and continues to improve its processing equipment, namely extruders and dryers, to provide a user friendly and durable state-of-the-art solution, and modern processing tools overcome ingredient variations and other potential hurdles. Through years of know-how and process engineering, Wenger offers a comprehensive and precise process control automation by our one and only Automated Process Control system (APM™).  Wenger values what is best for our clients. You recently took part in the Aqua Feed Extrusion Conference and gave a great presentation concerning operational excellence leadership. How do Wenger incorporate these leadership techniques to ensure your company remain at the peak of the processing industry? Wenger focus on providing all-inclusive process support, in addition to advanced extrusion equipment and modern processing control tools. One of our most appraised support systems, Wenger CARE™, improves our customer´s operations, generating more quality products with the least resources spent. What do you see as a possible challenge that the industry may face over the next five years, and how will your company play a part in prevention or solving it? The COVID-19 pandemic presents interesting opportunities. I believe we will see an increased consumption of cultivated fish, due to its minimised impact on the environment and increased number of people adopting pets, as well as extruded plant protein derivatives as an alternative nutrition for humans. We are ready with superior technology for the three area we specialise in: State-of-the-art and advanced extrusion equipment for pet food, aquatic feeds and human food. Has COVID-19 affected business in any way for Wenger? How has the company overcome these challenges? We have seen challenges, primarily brought about through the limitations on travelling, but, on other hand, we have developed new and improved tools for remote access for client interaction, equipment commissioning and client support. What makes your company stand out from its competitors? Do you have any projects or plans that we should look out for over the coming year from you and your company? What we focus on is the customers' best interests. Our vision is simply to be the best partner our clients can attain. This vision represents our commitment to state-of-the-art and advanced extrusion solutions and innovative processes utilised via expert support. We are also very focussed on research and development. We are, just now, renovating and substantially improving our 55-year old extrusion research centre in Sabetha, Kansas, refining it in terms of both size and technology, making sure our customer stands out from the competition, right from day one and use just the minimum of the earth´s resources. by Perendale Publishers




Mauricio Bernardi