* Siemens acquires niche player in smartgrid products
* Offers C$33.00/share
* 26 pct premium to Friday close
* Belden bows out
FRANKFURT, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Siemens will buy RuggedCom Inc, a Canadian maker of data communications networks systems, for about C$382 million ($381 million) in cash, to improve access to markets in North America and the Asia-Pacific region.
The deal, considered small for Europe’s biggest engineering company, is Siemens’ largest since it took over Israeli solar thermal fields maker Solel for $418 million in 2009.
Siemens’ offer topped a recent C$280 million bid from U.S. manufacturer Belden Inc, which said in a statement on Monday that it would not raise its bid and instead plans to look for other opportunities.
The German company’s C$33.00 per share bid represents a premium of 26 percent to RuggedCom’s closing on Friday.
Shares of Ontario-based RuggedCom were up 25 percent at C$32.80 in afternoon trade on Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
RuggedCom, which had revenues of around $94 million last year and employs 360 people, makes heavy-duty routers and ethernet cables specifically designed for challenging environments such as those found in electric power substations and smartgrids.
Anton Huber, Chief Executive of Siemens Industry Automation division, said the acquisition of RuggedCom would improve Siemens’ router and switch products.
Siemens’ portfolio of industrial ethernet networking components is enjoying above-average growth rates compared with the competition, he said without elaborating.
“It’s not a large company and is a good move as Siemens will be able to reduce its cash pile,” analyst Pascal Gottmann of Merck Finck said.
RuggedCom’s board of directors will recommend that its shareholders accept the offer, Siemens said.