Superior-based Barko’s product line expands with acquisitionA Superior manufacturer of big machines used in the forestry industry has expanded its product line by purchasing another Wisconsin company.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
A Superior manufacturer of big machines used in the forestry industry has expanded its product line by purchasing another Wisconsin company.
Barko Hydraulics announced Friday it had purchased the assets of Norco Equipment Co. of Oconto Falls, Wis.
“What this acquisition is allowing us to do is round out our existing product line,” said John Major, market segment manager for Barko. “We now have a full product line from harvesting all the way through processing.”
Major declined to disclose the purchase price.
Norco has two brands, PUMA Equipment and Dynamic Manufacturing. The latter includes forestry equipment that Barko hasn’t been able to offer in the past, Major said. PUMA’s track harvesters clamp on to a tree, and a blade cuts the tree off at ground level. Its forwarders move the cut-off trees to the loading area. At that point, Barko’s knuckleboom loaders — named because they are jointed like a human knuckles — pick up the tree, run it through a machine that sheers off its limbs and load them into a waiting truck.
Dynamic is a line of wood-chipping machines. That’s a particularly valuable product line with the move to biofuels as a source of energy, Major said.
Barko doesn’t disclose sales figures, but Major said it accounts for 15 to 20 percent of the forest equipment industry. It employs about 50 people, all in Superior, and Norco about 15, he said. Most of the Norco employees have been offered positions with Barko.
Barko was founded in Duluth in 1963. Norco was about 10 years old and had downsized recently, Major said.