AMF and Stewart sever combination

by Josh Sosland
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RICHMOND, VA. — AMF Bakery Systems, Richmond, and Stewart Systems, Plano, Texas, have separated the common ownership of their businesses and have resumed operating as independent companies.

The move, which became effective Dec. 31, ended a nine-month combination of two of North America’s largest baking equipment suppliers.

When the merger was announced in March 2008, the companies agreed to continue operating separately under the AMF and Stewart Systems names. The combined businesses were owned by a holding company named Ceres Industries.

Ken Newsome, AMF president, likened the merger to a marriage.

"We were a bit like two friends who got married and then quickly realized that they were better off being friends versus spouses," he said. "Nand (Kumar, c.e.o. of Stewart) and I have run our companies for many years and we realized that we would be better off if we kept that independence."

Mr. Kumar said an escape hatch allowing for a clean break was built into the merger and predicted that the companies, which have complementary specializations, would continue working together.

"We kept the operations completely autonomous and the financing separate from the beginning so this is not a big issue," he said. "We have worked together in the past on complete systems and we expect to continue to do the same in the future."

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