Hilti makes drills that cut through brick like butta. A subsidiary of Liechtenstein-based Hilti Corporation, the company manufactures and markets tools and related items, including adhesives, blades, compressors, drills, fastening systems, foam, screws, and studs for the construction and building-maintenance industries. It operates throughout North America. For contractors who frequent big-box retailers, Hilti runs some 300 Pro Shops inside Home Depot stores. Hilti Tool Fleet Management provides maintenance, repair, and replacement services for the construction industry. As its parent invests in R&D, Hilti has been rolling out new products. In 2010 it acquired Unirac, a maker of solar-panel mounting products.
Hilti was attracted to Unirac's growth amid rising demand for clean energy products and purchased the manufacturer from private equity firm Global Environment Fund. (Since it acquired Unirac in 2006, the Global Environment Fund was able to boost the manufacturer's annual revenue growth rate to about 55%.) The deal secures Hilti's position as a leading manufacturer of photovoltaic products in North America, the fastest-growing solar panel market in the world. Unirac also benefits from Hilti's global footprint.
Along with the Unirac purchase, Hilti has been making a concerted products push in North America. It launched the Impact Socket to help users improve productivity. The sockets have two beveled detent holes to boost speed and accuracy. It also debuted a pair of angle grinders and a new cordless reciprocating saw that's designed to cut through metal pipes flush with a surrounding surface and other applications.
To pump out more new products more quickly, Hilti in September 2010 formed a 50:50 joint venture with Trimble, based in Sunnyvale, California. The shared business, named Intelligent Construction Tools and based in Westminster, Colorado, serves as a technology hub for both companies for the development of measuring tools for building construction trades.
Hilti accounts for close to 20% of its parent's annual sales. Despite a downturn in the economy in the US and Canada, as well as stalled or shelved construction jobs, Hilti had sales increase by 9% in 2010 compared to 2009. – less