The official birth of Komatsu Mining Corp. took place on May 8 with a ceremony in Milwaukee, WI where Joy Global Inc. formally became part of Komatsu.
Komatsu America Corp. which is part of Japan-based Komatsu Ltd., acquired Joy Global for $3.7 billion. That deal was finalized on April 15, bringing together two of the world’s largest mining equipment manufacturers. Joy Global had 133 years of history and nearly 1,000 employees in Milwaukee, WI.
Komatsu Ltd. President and CEO Tetsuji Ohashi, and Komatsu Mining Corp. President Jeffrey Dawes were in Milwaukee for a presentation to employees.
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that combined, Joy and Komatsu have about 60,000 employees worldwide.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to commit to keeping the headquarters of Komatsu Mining right here in Milwaukee,” Dawes said.
The company says it will continue to promote and invest in the Joy, P&H and Montabert brands, and that it’s not shutting down the sprawling factory even as that plant has seen hundreds of layoffs.
“We didn’t buy this company to close it. Quite the contrary; there is huge experience here, more than 100 years worth, and we want to capitalize on that and make it grow,” Dawes said.
The merger of Joy into Komatsu’s operations could take several years to complete, and there are no guarantees for how it will look when finished.
Mining equipment companies are in a deep slump, with hundreds of jobs lost at Joy and its competitor Caterpillar Inc. in South Milwaukee.
Komatsu also manufactures off-highway trucks, excavators and industrial machines. It has locations worldwide.
“With so many voices around the world, and processes to consider, we will all need to be patient through these times of ambiguity and uncertainty,” Dawes said.
“We expect you to participate, collaborate, listen to new perspectives, share ideas and be open to change,” he told employees.
The mining equipment industry has some of the highest-paying jobs in Milwaukee manufacturing, with annual pay sometimes topping $80,000. That’s made the job losses especially difficult for union members who had those positions for many years.
Although their products haven’t overlapped, Joy and Komatsu have had many of the same mining industry customers.
The combined companies will be able to make a stronger sales pitch to those customers, as mine operators would rather deal with one large equipment supplier that can meet more of their needs.
“Of course, change is not easy; integration will be challenging,” Dawes said.
Komatsu was formed in 1921. To date, Joy is its largest acquisition.