Walter Meier Sells Off Tool Division

Walter Meier, the parent company of Jet, Powermatic, and Wilton tools is selling off their tool division. Seems like the large Swiss conglomerate has other, more profitable core businesses to focus on.

As announced in The Tennessean:

A La Vergne-based tool subsidiary of the Swiss conglomerate Walter Meier AG will be acquired by the New York private-equity firm Tenex Capital Management, the two entities announced Tuesday.

With about 200 employees worldwide, Walter Meier Manufacturing Inc. makes and markets the Wilton, Jet and Powermatic tool brands through more than 3,000 outlets in about 30 markets. It has been part of Walter Meier AG, whose main business is climate-control and humidification equipment.

No purchase price has been divulged yet as the deal is still being finalized, said Bob Varzino, the tool company’s senior vice president for marketing at the La Vergne headquarters and distribution center, which has 126 employees.

But the sale is “very good news for us,” Varzino said.

“It was some time in the coming,” he said. “This company has been growing and has become a very profitable division for Walter Meier. This will capitalize the company so it can grow to its next level of evolution. Tenex focuses on industrial brands and will be a really good partner for us. This is its biggest acquisition.”

The tool division’s total sales will approach $200 million this year, Varzino said.

In an announcement on its global website, Walter Meier AG said it was divesting itself of the tools business to continue with its “strategy of focusing on the core business (of) climate technology.”

Tenex won the right to buy the tool division through an auction, and the closing of the deal “is subject to various conditions, including contracts to be signed with financial lenders,” Walter Meier AG said. The sale is expected to be completed by Oct. 31.

Tools sold by the division are used in professional woodworking, metalworking, fabrication and industrial maintenance shops. The tool company has operations in seven countries, including Germany, Taiwan, Switzerland, Russia and France.

The company’s products are made in factories in Chicago, Mexico and Asia, Varzino said.

“In Walter Meier tools, we have acquired a strong company with great brands and a growing market share in each of its segments,” Tenex Chief Executive Officer Michael Green said in a statement. “The well-recognized brands of Jet, Wilton and Powermatic define the resilience and durability of the products. We look forward to supporting the company and its management team in executing its continuing growth initiatives.”

Well, according to this and what I heard in Nashville in August, it appears that Jet and Powermatic won’t be going away soon. In fact, keep looking for new and improved woodworking tools from them.