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The Globe and Mail

CPPIB to sell Texas-based air system firm for $1.6-billion

Mark Wiseman, CEO of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

michelle siu The Globe and Mail

Canada Pension Plan's investment arm is selling its ownership stake in Air Distribution Technologies Inc. for about $1.6-billion (U.S.) less than two years after acquiring the home and institutional ventilation systems company.

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board said on Wednesday it has a deal to sell Texas-based Air Distribution to Johnson Controls Inc. of Milwaukee, Wis.

CPPIB bought Air Distribution from global industrial holding company Tomkins PLC in September of 2012 for about $1.1-billion.

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The pension plan portfolio manager acquired Tomkins jointly with Toronto-based Onex Corp. in 2010 for $5-billion but then launched a series of profitable divestments of most of Tomkins' divisions.

Earlier this month, Onex and CPPIB signed an agreement to sell the automotive parts manufacturing unit of Tomkins for $5.4-billion; it was the eighth and largest sale of a Tomkins division since the 2010 acquisition.

"We have developed a close partnership with the management team of Air Distribution. We think highly of them and continue to believe Air Distribution is a leading [heating, ventilation and air conditioning] business with excellent brands," CPPIB senior vice-president André Bourbonnais said.

"It was a difficult decision to sell the business and we wish the Air Distribution team continued success."

"The acquisition by Johnson Controls and integration into their buildings business will extend our product portfolio and global network and position us for accelerated growth," said Air Distribution chief executive officer Terry O'Halloran.

"This investment expands Johnson Controls' position in the buildings space with additional products that are complementary to our existing heating, ventilation and air conditioning offerings," said Alex Molinaroli, chairman and CEO of Johnson Controls.

Air Distribution brands include Ruskin, Titus, Hart & Cooley and Krueger.

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The acquisition is expected to close by the end of July.

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