Lincoln Electric buys Wayne Trail, eyes industrial laser inroads

Arc welding/cutting tool maker Lincoln Electric is broadening the reach of its hybrid laser welding technology by acquiring fellow Ohio firm Wayne Trail Technologies.

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Cleveland, OH - Lincoln Electric Holdings (Nasdaq: LECO), a manufacturer of laser arc welding and cutting tools, is acquiring Wayne Trail Technologies, a privately held maker of automated systems for metal processing. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal strengthens Lincoln's position in laser welding automation in North America, giving it an entry into the industrial laser system business for its hybrid laser welding technology. "Wayne Trail brings extensive design and system building experience, and we are particularly excited about the company's proven capabilities and continued commercial success in the area of laser welding systems," stated chairman/CEO John Stropki.

For Wayne Trail, the deal will open up Lincoln's broad portfolio of welding and automated technologies, expanding the Fort Loramie, OH firm's reach in both US and international markets, noted president/CEO David M. Knapke. The deal also gives Wayne Trail access to LECO's deep cash reserves -- $275 million as of March 31, with $79 million operating cash flow.

Wayne Trail has annual sales of about $50 million. LECO posed 2011 sales of $2.7 billion, and in its most recent quarter (ended March 31) posted record sales of $727 million. This is LECO's second acquisition of 2012; back in March it acquired Weartech International, a privately held producer of cobalt-based welding consumables, with $40 million in annual sales and factories in California and Wales.

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