Posted December 20, 2022

Houchens Industries to acquire Air Hydro Power 

Houchens Industries, a large and wholly-owned S Corp ESOP based in Bowling Green, Kentucky, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Air Hydro Power (AHP). The deal is expected to close in January 2023.

AHP Louisville facility
AHP's Louisville facility.

“We are thrilled to partner with the AHP management team who has an employee and customer centric approach that mirrors that of Houchens," said Houchens CEO Dion Houchins. "They have built an exceptional business, and we couldn’t be more excited that it is based right here in our home state of Kentucky and in the city of Louisville, where we plan to further invest going forward. This investment further diversifies our ESOP, which is critical to our sustained success.”

AHP’s majority owners, Matt Ott, Tom McGuire, and Dick Beaven will remain involved in the business post-close – Ott and McGuire in their current capacities overseeing operations and sales, and Beaven will transition into a key account sales role.

AHP is an industrial distributor of motion control and fluid power solutions including automation, robotics, pneumatics, hydraulics, electrical motors, and hose and fittings. It serves over 5,000 customers from its locations in Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida. AHP provides solutions through its maintenance, repair, and operations focus to a diverse, commercially oriented customer base.

The company has experienced steady growth since its founding in 1961, growth that accelerated when Ott, McGuire, and Beaven acquired the Company in 1998. AHP has 21 locations and almost 300 employees. In 2020, the Company sold a minority interest to Supply Chain Equity, based in Tampa, Florida. Now, the trio has entered into an agreement to sell 100% of the company to Houchens as a pathway for the employees to share in not only the ownership and success of AHP, but the ownership and success of Houchens.

“We considered forming our own ESOP in 2019 because of the long-term benefits it provides to the employees and the opportunity to partner with a company like Houchens was too good to ignore,” said Ott.

McGuire added, "The partnership with Houchens provides us with the growth capital and resources to support the strategic plan that our management team desires and deserves. With Houchens proven track record of acquiring and building exceptional companies, we will not only maintain our leading position in the automation industry, but we can expand our capabilities and offerings to our customers.” 

Beaven said, “Two of the three owners of AHP started in the shipping and receiving department, so the migration to an ESOP is culmination of the American dream: to own your own business.”