Kohler to Establish Energy Division as Independent Business

Published: November 13, 2023

Kohler Co. announced the strategic decision to set Kohler Energy up as a separate, independent business with Platinum Equity engaged as the majority investment partner. Kohler will continue to stay invested in the Energy business following the closing and remains committed to supporting its upward trajectory built on a proven track record of strong performance in the global energy resilience marketplace. The businesses included in the portfolio are Power Systems, Engines, Home Energy, Kohler Uninterruptible Power, Clarke Energy, Curtis Instruments and Heila Technologies. 

While Kohler Co. and Platinum Equity must complete several milestones and legal requirements, including consultations with employee works councils, the transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2024. Until then, Kohler Co. will operate as one company. 

“Today we took a bold and strategic move for the future of our company,” said David Kohler, chair and CEO of Kohler Co. “Over the last 150 years, Kohler has embraced a relentless pursuit of providing exceptional products, services and experiences for our customers. This important moment in our journey signifies our commitment to deepening the focus and investment in Kohler’s Kitchen & Bath and Hospitality businesses and continuing to drive growth within our respective industries. ​

“The timing is right due to the strength of the Energy business, which is driven by world-class products manufactured and sold by highly skilled associates. I look forward to supporting the Energy business through our continued investment along with my role on the board following the closing.”  ​

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Kohler Energy is a global leader in energy resilience, providing mission critical power solutions to homes, businesses and equipment. Its market leading portfolio of backup and prime power equipment, traditional and electrified powertrain technologies, and home energy solutions are trusted around the world.​ 

“Kohler has been an excellent steward of the business for more than 100 years,” said Brian Melka, group president – Kohler Energy. “We will continue that vision with Platinum Equity, who shares the same values of quality, innovation, and operational excellence and is all-in on our growth journey. We expect to drive significant continued investment that increases value to our customers, team members and shareholders. 

“I’m proud of what the team has done to build an industry-leading business, and we look forward to working with Platinum Equity to embark on our next phase of growth. Our immediate priority is ensuring a smooth transition that delivers the best experience for our customers and team members around the world.”​ ​ 

Melka will serve as CEO of the Energy business, with David Kohler serving on its board.

Platinum Equity is a global investment firm with approximately $47 billion of assets under management. Kohler selected Platinum Equity due to the firm’s deep operational expertise and successful track record with carve-out transactions.

“Kohler Energy has a well-deserved reputation for quality, innovation and engineering that dates back more than a century,” said Platinum Equity Co-President Jacob Kotzubei. “We appreciate Kohler’s confidence in our ability to build on that legacy and support the energy business’s continued growth and expansion as a standalone company. We have great respect for David and the Kohler leadership team and are proud to be their partners.”

Platinum Equity has 28 years of experience acquiring and operating global businesses that have been part of large corporate entities. In recent years the firm has acquired businesses from firms like Ball Corporation, Caterpillar, Emerson Electric, Ingersoll Rand and Johnson & Johnson, among others.

“The energy resilience business has outstanding leadership, strong technical capabilities and an opportunity to benefit from attractive tailwinds driving a sustained need for reliable power solutions in industrial, commercial, residential and equipment applications,” said Platinum Equity managing director Matthew Louie. “We look forward to working with Brian and the management team to continue investing in the business and maximizing its potential.”

BDT & MSD Partners and BofA Securities are serving as financial advisors to Kohler. White & Case LLP are acting as legal advisors to Kohler.

Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and William Blair & Company LLC are serving as financial advisors to Platinum Equity on the Kohler Energy investment. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is serving as legal advisor and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is serving as debt financing counsel to Platinum Equity.

Photo credit: KOHLER CO.

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