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Kohler Co. to Establish Energy Division as Independent Business with Platinum Equity

Kohler Co. to Establish Energy Division as Independent Business with Platinum Equity

KOHLER, Wis. – Nov. 6, 2023 – Kohler Co. today 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.”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. 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,” said Brian Melka, Group President – Kohler Energy. “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.”Brian 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 anopportunity 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.


About Kohler Co.

For 150 years, Kohler Co. has been a global leader in design and innovation, dedicated to providing gracious living through kitchen and bath products; luxury cabinetry, tile and lighting; distributed energy solutions – home energy, industrial power systems, and powertrain technologies – and luxury hospitalityexperiences and major championship golf. Kohler's Whistling Straits golf course hosted the 43rd Ryder Cup in 2021. Privately held Kohler Co. was founded in 1873 and is headquartered in Kohler, Wisconsin.The company also develops solutions to address pressing issues, such as clean water and sanitation, for underserved communities around the world to enhance the quality of life for current and future generations.

About Kohler Energy

Kohler Energy, a global leader in distributed energy solutions, brings bold design and powerful impact to the energy systems that sustain people and communities everywhere around the world. It is an integral part of Kohler Co., with solutions across Home Energy, Industrial Energy Systems, and Powertrain Technologies. Leveraging the strength of its portfolio of brands – Power Systems, Home Energy, Kohler Uninterruptible Power, Clarke Energy, Heila Technologies, Curtis Instruments, and Engines, and more than a century of industry leadership, Kohler Energy builds resilience when the grid cannot and goes beyond functional, individual recovery to create better lives and communities. For more details, please visit kohler.com/energy.

About Platinum Equity

Founded in 1995 by Tom Gores, Platinum Equity is a global investment firm with approximately $47 billion of assets under management and a portfolio of approximately 50 operating companies that serve customers around the world. Platinum Equity specializes in mergers, acquisitions and operations – a trademarked strategy it calls M&A&O® – acquiring and operating companies in a broad range of business markets, including manufacturing, distribution, transportation and logistics, equipment rental, metals services, media and entertainment, technology, telecommunications and other industries. Over the past28 years Platinum Equity has completed more than 400 acquisitions.

Christof Zurbrügg Promoted to Managing Director of Curtis Instruments AG in Switzerland

Christof Zurbrügg Promoted to Managing Director of Curtis Instruments AG in Switzerland

MT. KISCO, NY, January 2022. Curtis Instruments, Inc. announces that Mr. Christof Zurbrügg has been promoted to the position of Managing Director of the company’s Swiss subsidiary in Biberist. In his new position, Mr. Zurbrügg will be responsible for all aspects of managing Curtis Instruments AG, including engineering and operations. Curtis’ subsidiary in Biberist, Switzerland, is one of the company’s primary engineering centers, predominantly focused on designing and developing medical mobility systems for wheelchairs and rehab chairs.  

Mr. Zurbrügg earned two Bachelor’s degrees from the Berner Fachhochschule BFH, in Bern, Switzerland: Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (1994) and in Business Information Technology (2005). He added a Certificate of Advanced studies in Mobile Application Technologies from the same school in 2012. Prior to that, he was an apprentice Electronics Technician with MF Thun in Switzerland.

He joined Curtis more than 24 years ago, advancing through the ranks with the company in progressively responsible positions, initially as hardware engineer. He was first promoted to the important position as Group Leader Hardware Engineering, a role he held for 12 years. In 2021 he took on broader managerial responsibilities in preparation for this major promotion to Managing Director.

In his new capacity, Mr. Zurbrügg will continue to focus on development of advanced mobility systems that encompass a combination of high-level features, ease of use, safety and ergonomics for the user. Major customers in the US and Europe rely on Curtis AG’s highly specialized expertise in this technology to make their wheelchairs and rehab chairs the best in the market, while assuring affordability and value.

Mr. Zurbrügg explains his philosophy: “It’s motivational for us to know that the products that we design and produce directly improve the quality of people’s life. For the vehicle control systems of wheelchairs, reliability and safety are paramount. We can only release an operating software when every minute detail has been tested. The vehicle control system must be very smooth and simultaneously precise. Reliability means, for example, that a wheelchair does not suddenly cease to operate when the user is in trying to cross a street in busy traffic. Many other safety aspects must be considered. We focus on every detail.”


We are confident that Mr. Zurbrügg's long record of success, complemented by his well-rounded business management skill are ideally suited for his new leadership position at Curtis. He brings the right combination of vision, enthusiasm, technical skills and professionalism to lead the management of this important Curtis engineering subsidiary.

Kohler Co. Acquires Curtis Instruments to Drive Electrification Efforts

Kohler Co. Acquires Curtis Instruments to Drive Electrification Efforts

KOHLER, Wis., Jan. 10, 2022 – Kohler Co. announces that its Power Group – a global leader in engines, power generation and clean energy solutions – has signed an agreement to acquire multinational Curtis Instruments, headquartered in Mount Kisco, New York. Curtis is a leading electrification partner to OEMs across a broad range of markets including material handling, golf and recreational vehicles, mobile elevated work platforms, construction, agriculture, turf care, marine, medical mobility and select on-road segments. Founded in 1960, the company employs approximately 1,100 individuals and operates in 16 countries, including manufacturing locations in Puerto Rico, Bulgaria, China and India.

Curtis’ product portfolio spans motor speed controllers, HMIs and instrumentation, power conversion, CAN modules and other accessories. With a deep roster of talent across five engineering centers, Curtis also develops advanced software solutions for its customers. The acquisition expands and diversifies Kohler’s power portfolio by leveraging Curtis’ electrification expertise with Kohler’s well-established gasoline and diesel engine business to best serve off-highway OEM customers. Curtis Instruments will operate as a standalone entity within the Kohler Power Group with Stuart Marwell, President, reporting to Brian Melka, Group President – Power. Kohler Power and Curtis now have more than 160 years of combined technical experience in energy management solutions. Terms of the agreement are not disclosed.

The transaction is announced just days following Kohler’s acquisition of Heila Technologies – a microgrid software controls company – and the creation of a separate Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS) business unit focused on residential energy storage. These moves represent Kohler’s continued commitment to lead in diversified distributed energy solutions.

“We’re excited to welcome Curtis Instruments to our Kohler Power organization. This business, under the leadership of Stuart and Nick Marwell, is highly regarded for its market-leading position and expertise in electric and hybrid off-highway applications,” said Melka. “For more than 100 years, Kohler has been a preferred source of power for homes, businesses, and equipment, and integrating the Kohler and Curtis product portfolios and existing OEM relationships will create substantial growth opportunities for both brands. With this acquisition, we are leveraging our history of trusted expertise in power resiliency, as clean energy continues to play a crucial role in the continued expansion of Kohler Power.”


“Our entire Curtis Instruments organization is excited to join the Kohler Company of global businesses and be part of a forward-thinking privately held company,” said Stuart Marwell. “We were drawn to Kohler because of its nearly 150-year history of strong family leadership and innovation, as well as its commitment to embracing the growing shift to electrification and hybridization. We are excited to help lead this next chapter for Kohler. KOHLER and Curtis brands both stand for quality, innovation and commitment to long-term customer success.”

About Kohler Power

A global force in power solutions since 1920, Kohler manufactures engines and complete power systems, including generators (portable, marine, residential, commercial and industrial), automatic transfer switches, switchgear, monitoring controls, and accessories for emergency, prime power and energy-management applications all around the world. The business is committed to reliable, leading edge power-generation products, clean energy solutions, as well as comprehensive after-sale support. For more details, please visit kohlerpower.com

About Kohler Co.

Founded in 1873 and headquartered in Kohler, Wisconsin, Kohler Co. is one of America’s oldest and largest privately held companies comprised of more than 40,000 associates. With more than 50 manufacturing locations worldwide, Kohler is a global leader in the design, innovation and manufacture of kitchen and bath products; luxury cabinetry, tile and lighting; engines, generators, and clean energy solutions; and owner/operator of two, five-star hospitality and golf resort destinations in Kohler, Wisconsin, and St. Andrews, Scotland. Kohler’s Whistling Straits golf course recently hosted the 43rd Ryder Cup. The company also develops solutions to address pressing issues, such as clean water and sanitation, for underserved communities around the world to enhance the quality of life for current and future generations. For more details, please visit kohlercompany.com

Kurt Stump Retires as Managing Director of Curtis AG

Kurt Stump Retires as Managing Director of Curtis AG

After 25 years of leading Curtis Instruments AG, the company’s primary medical mobility engineering center in Biberist, Switzerland, Mr. Kurt Stump has retired from the company effective November 2021. He was succeeded by his longtime manager and protégé Christof Zurbrügg.

Under Mr. Stump’s leadership, the Curtis medical mobility line for electric wheelchairs reached international success, installed by major OEM customers in North America and Europe. Curtis vehicle control systems are among the most sophisticated wheelchair systems in the world, leading the market in technological advancement, user experience and value.

It all started in 1996, when Curtis acquired the drive system division of Zaugg Elektronik AG und founded Curtis AG in Obergerlafingen, in the Canton Solothurn. Zaugg specialized in electric wheelchair technology and Kurt Stump was their top engineer. Curtis took over the specialized department of five employees. That was the beginning of a 25 year-long success story of the Swiss subsidiary, a key R&D Center of Curtis which currently employs 38 people in the Biberist engineering center. By all standards, the Curtis AG team ranks top in their sphere of expertise globally.

Curtis wheelchair systems significantly improve the quality of life and are highly adaptable and customizable to specific user needs, in large part due to Mr. Stump’s vision. These highly advanced systems offer an unprecedented combination of features, performance, safety and value to users. This has been Kurt Stump’s primary achievement and his entire team has been devoted and motivated toward this goal. The result is astounding: More than 300,000 people worldwide benefit from and rely on wheelchairs and rehab powerchairs equipped with Curtis vehicle systems. 

Mr. Stump has earned the respect and loyalty of his team, and the admiration of Curtis teams worldwide, for his technical expertise and commitment to excellence, always while keeping the end user in mind – those people whose life has been improved through better mobility.


Photo: L. Kurt Stump. R: His successor Christof Zurbrügg.

Impressions 25th Anniversary Curtis AG

Impressions 25th Anniversary Curtis AG











Medtech in the canton of Solothurn

Medtech in the canton of Solothurn

Inside Switzerland the Canton of Solothurn is a hotspot of medical technology. In a video of the business promotion of the Canton Solothurn about regional companies and their products of medical technology the core business of Curtis AG is also mentioned.

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