PROBAT accelerates strategic development with acquisition of AC Horn Manufacturing

Emmerich, Germany, February 29, 2024: PROBAT announces the acquisition of AC Horn Manufacturing, a world-class producer of premium food processing equipment, based in Texas, USA. With this strategic investment, the global market and technology leader in coffee roasting plant and machinery strengthens its competitive advantage through new technological capabilities and synergies to further penetrate the global food market.

Originally a small sheet metal business founded in 1907, AC Horn has developed into a leading global supplier of food processing equipment. PROBAT's investment in this acquisition not only complements its existing products and services, particularly for nut and snack processing, but also increases the efficiency of its own production processes through greater vertical integration. Furthermore, AC Horn and PROBAT share an unrivalled commitment to their customers that sets both companies apart in their respective industries.

PROBAT and AC Horn are two family-owned companies that have more in common than separates them. Our combined expertise will strengthen both companies to the benefit of our customers and all stakeholders. I am very pleased that Michael Horn has decided to remain at the helm in Dallas and look forward to a shared future,” says PROBAT CEO Wim Abbing after the acquisition.

PROBAT is strategically focused on continuing to invest in its growing business and sees the acquisition of AC Horn as a great opportunity to build on a complementary portfolio that will allow the company to expand its product offering. By adding new resources and building larger and stronger teams of experts with a wide range of skills, PROBAT also underpins its mission to offer its customers individual and future-proof solutions.

Michael Horn, President & CEO of AC Horn Manufacturing, is also looking forward to a shared future with PROBAT: “I am incredibly excited and proud for AC Horn to join PROBAT. My team and I have worked hard to build a strong brand and we are eager to take it to the next level in this new journey. PROBAT is a great company with many cultural similarities to AC Horn. It is the right home for the company that my family has built over the last 117 years. I look forward to the new opportunity and cannot wait to get to work!

As a member of the PROBAT Group, AC Horn will be well positioned to deliver the value and quality that its customers have come to expect — and beyond.

About A.C. Horn
A.C. Horn is the world leader in snack food processing equipment, renowned for quality design, reliability, integrity, and durability. Its product range includes high quality roasters and dryers, grinders, granulators, cookers, and coaters. The company is an invaluable partner to snack food manufacturers around the world. Countless smaller manufacturers rely on its outstanding expertise and unparalleled offering, as do some of the industry's largest companies.

PROBAT has been developing pioneering solutions for the coffee industry for more than 150 years. The company is the world market and technology leader in coffee processing plant and machinery. Its range of services includes the development, design, and construction of roasters and grinders as well as the planning and implementation of industrial production facilities. Machine and plant controls, environmental technologies, and comprehensive services also make up part of PROBAT's product portfolio. Together with subsidiaries in Brazil, Canada, India, Italy, Scotland, and the USA, PROBAT has approx. 1,000 employees. Furthermore, agencies in more than 40 countries ensure that the age-long experience and know-how of PROBAT are being used globally.

Press contact

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46446 Emmerich am Rhein

Iris Gerlach / Marketing
P +49 2822 912-597
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Michael Horn named CTE Champion of the Year by Dallas Independent School District

The team at AC Horn has greatly enjoyed working with students from the Dallas Independent School District’s Career and Technical Education Program over the past year. Apparently, the feeling is mutual, because the district named company President Michael Horn its CTE Champion of the Year.

The honor comes as part of the CTE program’s 3D Design Challenge, which was begun as a way to honor some of the district’s industry partners and showcase how their engagement affects students. Horn’s award represents that he is an “all-around advocate for all things CTE (students, teachers, department, and other partners),” according to the district, which added that “Michael exemplified this award by continuing to advocate for the underrepresented career cluster of Manufacturing with the following: sharing his network to get involved with the CTE program, reaching out to the CTE program to inquire if we needed/wanted manufacturing equipment, being an active member of the Industry Leadership Council (ILC), sharing his experience with hosting a virtual worksite tour, reaching out to the CTE department on job opportunities at his company, hosting student interns during this year's internship program, and being the first industry partner to host a virtual worksite tour during the 2020-2021 school year.”

“We have enjoyed working with the district and the CTE program, and our first two summer interns were great additions to the AC Horn team,” Horn says. “They got exposure to things they may want to do in their careers and plenty of hands-on experience. We are eager to continue helping our diverse student population get plugged into real-world opportunities where they can visualize and understand all that they are learning from the CTE’s outstanding faculty and curriculum.”

More than 50,000 of the school district’s students are enrolled in the CTE program, whose mission is “every Dallas Independent School District CTE student will graduate with a high school diploma plus post-secondary credit and/or industry-recognized certification.” To meet this goal, the district offers courses across 135 comprehensive CTE pathways to students in grades 6 through 12.

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AC Horn inaugural internship with Dallas schools is a resounding success

When representatives from AC Horn attended a virtual job fair for the Dallas Independent School District’s Career and Technical Education Program last spring, they were hoping to find one candidate for a summer internship. Instead, they were so impressed with the CTE students that two were hired — a big move for a company with only 70 full-time staff.

That level of talent set the tone for the entire internship, which ran from mid-June through August, says Michael Horn, president.

“Our team was so impressed with these two students, one of whom worked in an engineering support role, while another learned CNC, or computer numerical control,” Horn says. “Typically, a trainee would start on a manual lathe rather than CNC, but our intern was a natural and picked it up in a week. By the end of his internship, he was an equal member of the machine shop.”

The second intern had equally solid achievements, doing 3-D AutoCAD work by the end of his program, Horn adds, noting that the hands-on learning at AC Horn could be invaluable to the two students in their future studies and careers.

“The school system sent us the best of the best, and we were able to pick up where classroom teaching left off and allow them to learn on the job,” he says. “We didn’t know what to expect, and now can see the great things that the CTE program is accomplishing with their students. I hope we can get more of them next summer and eventually bring them back as new staff members. This program is really good news for us, as well as other manufacturers in the area, because it shows that our school system is working to create a pipeline of skilled workers that will help us attract and retain top talent and grow our local economy.”

The internship program participation is a part of AC Horn’s ongoing partnership with the Dallas ISD.

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Michael Horn Announces Partnership with Dallas Schools to Promote Careers in Manufacturing

On October 2, Manufacturing Day 2020, AC Horn hosted virtual tours of the company’s manufacturing facility for students in the Dallas Independent School District’s Career and Technical Education program. The tours are part of the district’s efforts to introduce students to skilled career opportunities in manufacturing (welders, machinists, draftsman, engineers, etc.) During morning and afternoon tours, AC Horn President, Michael Horn gave students a firsthand look around the manufacturing floor, then hosted a virtual Q&A session.

As part of its partnership with the Dallas ISD, AC Horn will also be providing a summer internship at its facility. “We’re excited to be working with our local schools and to be able to introduce students to and support vocational careers in manufacturing,” said Horn. “There’s a shortage of skilled technical labor in the Dallas area, and this is a way for us to encourage students to consider these career paths.”

To learn more about Dallas ISD's Career and Technical Education program, visit To find out more about AC Horn internship and career opportunities, Contact Us.

Michael Horn, President of AC Horn

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Global Snacking Phenomenon

Snacking is so entrenched in our society now it’s no longer a trend but the new national pastime. Nearly all Americans (94%) snack at least once a day, according to recently published Mintel data. And the frequency of snack occasions is increasing. Half of all adults (50%) report they snack two to three times per day. 

Americans aren’t the only ones snacking—it is truly a global phenomenon with Nielsen reporting the global snack market topping $374 billion in sales. And nuts ands seeds as ingredients feature prominently within this snack segment. According to Innova Market Insights nuts and seeds accounted for more than 37 percent of global snack food launches in 2013 and nuts’ share within the snack category continues to grow. 

Another product experiencing phenomenal sales within snacking is ready-to-eat (RTE) popcorn. The RTE popcorn/caramel corn category, according to IRI, witnessed sales increases of 18.17% in a single year (May 2015 compared to May 2014). Multiple individual brands saw sales of their products skyrocket more than 100% during this time period, contributing to the impressive overall category sales increase. 

Part of the reason behind an improved outlook for nuts and popcorn is the emphasis on healthy snacking. Driving this growth for better-for-you (BFY) snacks are Millennials and Generation Z—the demographic cluster of those ages 23 and younger. These combined population segments have positive attitudes about snacking, a desire to eat more healthfully and a need for convenience. 

Both nuts and popcorn fit into this BFY snack trend perfectly. RTE popcorn, with its low calorie count, is an almost guilt-free food. The health benefits of various types of nuts are well-known. Nuts are popular eaten alone, or incorporated into nutrition bars or trail mix. Trail mix combines ingredients consumers perceive as healthy, such as nuts, seeds and fruit, or can include a touch of chocolate for a grand slam win. 

AC Horn Manufacturing manufactures quality equipment for efficient processing or production of nuts, seeds, popcorn and kettle corn to allow manufacturers to take advantage of these growing market segments. Selecting the right piece of equipment for processing nuts and seeds, or for popcorn is crucial to maintaining profit margins and ensuring that a quality product is going out the door. Improve your throughput with a piece of reliable equipment designed to last for decades. 

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Generations of craftsmanship

Company loyalty is a rare commodity within business today. What’s even more rare is intergenerational company loyalty.  AC Horn Manufacturing is proud to be a rare organization. “We have several multigenerational employees from the same family,” explains, Michael Horn, president and a fourth-generation Horn employee himself. “Fathers, sons and grandsons all work together here crafting our machines. We’re really proud that our employees enjoy working here and encourage their family members to work here too.”

Skills and knowledge are handed down from father to son and generation to generation. This creates institutional knowledge that is invaluable to the organization and its customers. The company motto of ‘Excellence and Integrity’ is reflected in the Horn work environment. Employees are valued for their excellence and integrity, which they build into each piece of equipment.

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AC Horn appoints new President

DALLAS — Michael Douglas Horn, Jr. is the new president of AC Horn Manufacturing. He succeeds his father, Doug, in the role. Continuing a family tradition of leadership and integrity, Michael takes over the reins as only the fourth president in the company’s more than 100-year history. Like his predecessors, he is committed to ensuring the consistent, superior quality associated with Horn machines is carried through into the next generation and beyond. “Horn equipment has always been made with good, honest craftsmanship,” says Michael Horn. “This is evidenced in its reliability and the fact that it is trusted by both large and small snack food producers. My responsibility is to safeguard this heritage while growing the business.”


Company Vision

Before taking the helm at Horn, Michael worked in various positions in the company, starting in his teens on the shop floor. He rejoined the company as an Equipment Salesman at age 29, later becoming the Vice President of Sales.

Michael is also a proud Texas A&M graduate and former U.S. Army Intelligence Officer. “I’m honored to be leading this next phase of growth for Horn. We’ll be focused on creating solutions to fit the changing needs of our customers and expanding globally.”

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Doug Horn tribute

On Saturday, July 5th, 2014, Michael Douglas ‘Doug’ Horn, Sr., passed away. He was biking through the campus of his beloved alma mater Southern Methodist University, when he took a fatal fall from his bicycle. In the words of his wife, Priscilla, he catapulted directly into the arms of his beloved savior, Jesus Christ.

In October 2012, Doug was diagnosed with a progressive brain disorder. To further understand his diagnosis and to develop coping mechanisms, he worked closely with the Center for BrainHealth in Dallas, which allowed him to continue to steer AC Horn & Co. until his death. Doug prided himself by embodying the company motto “Excellence and Integrity.” He always said that when the excellence runs out, the integrity kicks in.

After announcing Doug’s passing, Priscilla carried out his wishes and designated Michael Douglas Horn, Jr., as the new president of AC Horn & Co. As the fourth generation of leadership from the Horn family, he is committed to following in his father’s footsteps by leading and conducting the company with the highest standards of “Excellence and Integrity.” The company recently closed out the most successful fiscal year in its 107-year history, and Michael plans to maintain that momentum through the transition into this new chapter.

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