Hicks Holdings LLC, a Dallas-based, family-owned private investment enterprise headed by Thomas O. Hicks, and private equity firm The Watermill Group, of Lexington, Mass., have issued statements explaining their reasons for jointly acquiring Latrobe Specialty Steel Co., formerly known as Timken Latrobe Steel, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Timken Co., for a purchase price of $215 million in cash plus approximately $35 million of assumed liabilities.
Steven E. Karol, founder and managing partner of The Watermill Group, said: “Watermill has a long history of investing in outstanding companies and helping them further improve their strategic, operational and financial performance. Latrobe Specialty Steel was attractive to us based on its existing strength in all three categories, including its excellent position in growing and profitable markets, its outstanding management team, and its up-to-date, well-maintained manufacturing and distribution facilities. In partnering with Hicks Holdings, a like-minded buy and build investment group, our collective excitement about the future of Latrobe Specialty Steel is very high. We look forward to working with both Hicks Holdings and the Latrobe management team in this endeavor.”
Thomas O. Hicks, chairman and chief executive officer of Hicks Holdings, said: “We’re pleased to partner with The Watermill Group—which has significant hands-on experience and success in Latrobe’s industry and which identified and invited us to participate in this transaction—to acquire such an outstanding company. Latrobe has been a leading producer of high-quality specialty steels and alloys for nearly a century. It has done well as a subsidiary of Timken and we expect it to perform even better as a stand-alone company headed by an entrepreneurially incented management team. We look forward to working with President Hans Sack and his colleagues as they continue to provide outstanding products and services to Latrobe’s customers, create a dynamic, entrepreneurial environment for Latrobe’s employees, and build the value of the enterprise for everyone concerned.”
Founded in 1913, and headquartered in Latrobe, Pa., Latrobe Specialty Steel has been recognized as a pioneer in many specialty steel applications. Latrobe was the first North American company to exclusively use electric furnaces for the manufacture of manganese steel castings, and the company has historically been a major supplier of tool and die steels. The company has long used open die forging to produce many of its products. Latrobe added vacuum melting capabilities in the mid-1950s, which broadened its product lines with a variety of specialty alloy steels for aircraft, defense and other critical applications. It was acquired by The Timken Co. 1975.
Latrobe Manufacturing, one of the company’s two operating divisions, produces more than 300 grades of specialty steel over a range of product families, including high-speed steel, structural alloys, bearing steel, high-temperature steel, corrosion-resistant steel, and tool and die steels.
Latrobe Distribution, the company’s other division, acts as a master distributor of the company’s own, and other companies’, specialty steel products to consumers and other distributors.