Donaldson Company

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Donaldson Company Inc.
Traded as NYSEDCI
Industry Filtration Engines
Membranes Gas Turbines
Valves Hydraulics
Founded 1915
Headquarters Bloomington, Minnesota
Key people
W. Cook, chair, pres, ceo
James Shaw, cfo, vp
Revenue Steady$2436.948 mil 2013 FY[1]
$343.3 mil Decrease5.4% 2013 FY[1]
$247.4 mil Decrease6.3% 2013 FY[1]
Total assets $1.7436 bil (Jan 2014)Increase1%
Number of employees
12,400 (August 31, 2013)
Divisions Engine
Website Donaldson Company

Donaldson Company, Inc. is a vertically integrated filtration company engaged in the production and marketing of products used as a means to improve performance efficiency and air quality. Its products are used by a variety of industry sectors, including commercial/industrial (engines, exhausts, transmissions, vents in private vehicles, hydraulics), aerospace (helicopters, planes), chemical, alternative energy (windmills) and pharmaceuticals.

As a multinational company it operates in Belgium, Mexico, China, UK, Thailand, USA, Russia,[2] Japan, Italy, Germany and France. In fiscal 2013 30.3% of operating income came from business in the Asia-Pacific region (was 39.6% in 2011), 31.6% from Europe (31.0% in 2011) and 26.0% from the US (19.8% in 2011).[1][3][4] The company also makes aftermarket parts.

There was significant growth in the size of the company in terms of market value in 2009, going from about $2 billion at the start of the year to $3.26 billion in May 2010.[5][6] Although sales were steady between 2007 and 2010 long term debt rose 98.6% over that period; Long term debt increased 44% in 2008 and remained near that level until January 2011 when it fell 17% quarter to quarter (then fell a further 3% by January 2012).[4] No single customer contributes more than 10% of revenue.

The company has been recognized for innovations made in air filter technology (since 2008 annual spending on research and development has exceeded $40.6 million).[7] It has also participated in technological advancements associated with fuel cells.[8]


Started as Donaldson Engineering, a small business built around Frank Donaldson's air intake filter invention (engine air cleaner).[9] The business was incorporated in 1915 by Donaldson, his parents and his siblings as Donaldson Company Inc.[10]

In the first decade Donaldson Company made two important moves, it acquired the Wilcox-Bennet air filter license and introduced a new kind of filter the Simplex, used to prevent engine damage. Deere & Company was the company's most important client during the first couple decades. The early 1930s brought additional prosperity when William Lowther joined the company and designed the NS Filter, a tractor performance enhancing filter invented by Frank Donaldson. The 1930s were a transitionary period, at the beginning of the decade it was forced to contract in size due to tough economic conditions in the United States causing business from farmers to fall however, the sale of patents to influential investors provided the funds and market exposure it needed to survive and grow (part of the agreement was that Donaldson Company produce the filters). World War II provided opportunities for the company to expand into aerospace and military hydraulic equipment and device filters.

The 1950s were bittersweet, the company gained market share, grew in size and went public (1955) but was faced with employee strikes, the exodus of key employees (who started a new company to compete with Donaldson for market share) and IRS charges of hidden back taxes.[9]

In the 1960s subsidiaries were established in Germany, South Africa, Britain, France, Australia and Benelux.

Key dates and events

  • 1938 - First production facility abroad (Canada)
  • 1942 - Frank Donaldson died his son Frank jr. eventually replaced him as president in 1951
  • 1960 - International expansion
  • 1973 - Acquired Torit Corp. and Majac Inc. (both involved in air dust filtration)
  • 1975 - new hydraulic fluid filtration system created
  • 1984 - Forced to enter new markets (through acquisitions) and restructure due to recessionary effects on major customers like John Deere Tractor Company
  • 1996 - Acquired French muffler manufacturer Tecnov
  • 1997 - Launched Donaldson Korea Company.
  • 1999 - Began producing in China (computer disk drive) and purchased AirMaze Corp for $31.9 million
  • 2000 - Acquired England based company DCE dust control for $56.4 million
  • 2002 - Acquired industrial parts maker Ultrafilter International AG for $68 million. Ultrafilter had sales of $100 million and operated in 30 countries.[11][12]
  • 2007 - Purchased outright Aerospace Filtration Systems a company that had 18 million in sales the year before. Made a distribution agreement with Kaman Industrial Technologies [13][14]

Divisions and Subsidiaries[edit]

Subsidiaries are grouped based on the products they deal in: engine, industrial, aerospace or pharmaceutical applications. The 2 core business segments are

Industrial includes all business involved in the filtration of computer disk drives and commercial plant emissions as well as applications which enhance the performance of air compressors and rotating turbines. This segment accounted for 38.3% of revenue in fiscal 2013 up from 37.0% in 2012.[1]

Engine customers include OEM of many different types of commercial and private vehicles. Engine Products accounted for 61.7% of revenue in fiscal 2013 down from 63.0% in 2012. Engine sales are attributable to aftermarket parts (59.9%), off-road products (23.9%), on-road products (8.5%), aerospace and defense (6.9%), retrofit emissions (1.0%).[1][15]

The business lines with growing importance are after market parts (37% of total sales in 2013 compared to 35% in 2010, 28-29% in 2008 and 2009) and off-road products (15% in 2013 up from 11.8% in 2010, 13.0% in 2009).[4]