Milacron Focuses on Fluids, Plastics


Milacron Inc. announced yesterday that it is selling most of what remains of its metalworking tool business to focus on production of plastics processing equipment and industrial fluids.

Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President Ronald D. Brown said the divestiture will help improve the companys balance sheet as it weathers a sluggish economy. In the long term, he said, the move will better Milacron’s prospects for profits.

The Cincinnati, Ohio, company said it has agreed to sell Valenite, its North American metalcutting tool subsidiary acquired in 1993, to the Swedish firm Sandvik for $175 million. Milacron agreed last month to sell Widia and Werko, its metalcutting tool businesses in Europe and India, to Kennametal Inc., of Latrobe, Pa.

Milacron expects net cash proceeds from the Valenite, Widia and Werko sales tototal $290 million, most of which will be used to reduce debt. Milacron posted a $35.7 million loss in 2001 and has had to amend credit agreements.

In announcing the Valenite sale, Milacron said it will now focus on plastics technologies and industrial fluids. The company says it is one of the worlds two largest producers of metalworking fluids, although its plastics technologies business is significantly larger.

Brown said Milacrons fluid sales were approximately $100 million last year, that the business has grown 7 percent annually since the 1970s and has maintained good margins by focusing on premium products. The company has 350 distributors selling in 100 countries and sees opportunity for significant growth in overseas markets, especially Eastern Asia. He predicted Milacron will also benefit from the drive for more environmentally benign fluids.

In the past, Milacron has said the company benefited from synergies between metalcutting tools and fluids businesses, which combined to make up its Metalworking Technologies division. Officials claimed that working with grinding wheels, cutting bits and other tools put the company in a unique position to understand the interactions between tools and fluids. Moreover, machine tool accounts sometimes generated fluid sales, and vice versa.

Milacron also announced yesterday that it was revising its financial performance projections for the rest of the year, due to lowered profits expectations for plastics technologies.

Related Topics

Market Topics