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DeVlieg Bullard moves its National Acme unit from Cleveland. (Plus, Talk Of Acquisition).

The old National Acme plant on East 131st Street near Cleveland's lakefront is being phased out as operations move 20 miles away to the Twinsburg, Ohio plant of DeVlieg Bullard II, Inc. (Rockford, Ill.). The move consolidates operations with DeVlieg Bullard's rebuild division.

The sales department has already moved; the engineering units will be moved by next month. What will remain for a while is manufacture of the new high-precision spindle carrier for the Acme-Gridley machine.

National Acme got its start in the 1894 founding of a Hartford, Conn., bicycle-parts manufacturer that developed a five-spindle screw machine. Its move to Cleveland shortly after the turn of the last century made that Ohio city a Mecca of sorts for automatic lathes, that is, until the developments of George Gridley and Frank Cone in Windsor, Vt. became known. In 1916 National Acme Manufacturing Co. bought out the interests that owned Gridley's multispindle designs; merging those designs with its own formed the Acme-Gridley brand that continues to this day as the business unit's mainstay.

DeVlieg-Bullard, Inc. acquired National Acme in 1995 from Acme-Cleveland Corp., which had been moving into telecommunications after having sold its Cleveland Twist Drill unit. For DeVlieg-Bullard, the acquisition meant a move toward OEM manufacture from a business that had been centered around supplying parts and rebuilding services.

For nearly two years, National Acme has been using only a portion of the huge 131st Street factory. Some six months following DeVlieg-Bullard's mid-1999 filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the 600,000-sq.-ft. building was sold to a real-estate-holding company, and around one-sixth of the space was leased back to DeV-B., which started moving machinery to Twinsburg.
 Separately, sources say that De Vlieg Bullard II's parent is in talks with
 the owner of Motch and Cone-Blanchard about an acquisition.

Officials of the companies involved are making no statements. However, KPS Special Situations Fund L.P. (New York, N.Y.), the owner of DeVlieg Bullard II, has made it plain that it is "committed to acquiring additional companies in the machine tool industry," ( KPS along with another investment company recently closed on the purchase out of bankruptcy of coil-processing-equipment producer Genesis Worldwide II, Inc. (Dayton, Ohio; see M.I.R. 12/17/01), paying creditors $20.5-million and assuming debt. In mid-2000 KPS created DeVlieg Bullard II to take over the assets and operations of DeVlieg-Bullard, Inc. for about $31.3-million in cash and DeVlieg notes, after the machine-tool builder had started selling off portions of its holdings under its Chapter 11 filing. For DeVlieg, KPS also arranged a new $24-million asset-based working-capital facility.

Private-equity fund KPS bills itself as specializing in making controlling equity investments in companies on behalf of institutional investors, large banks, and trusts. It tends to focus on restructurings, bankruptcies, turnarounds, and employee buyouts. It holds four companies in addition to the two machine-tool-related firms: three of those are in the paper industry.

Family-controlled Park Corp. (Cleveland, Ohio) in 1997 purchased lathebuilder Motch Corp. (Cleveland, Ohio) from Pittler A.G. (Langen, Germany), which had controlled it for ten years before declaring bankruptcy in Germany. At around the same time, Park also took control of Cone-Blanchard Corp. (Windsor, Vt.), the builder of Conomatic turning machines and Blanchard-brand grinders. That purchase was done through a bankruptcy court, because some of cash-strapped Cone's employee-owners had filed motions regarding their pensions.

DeVlieg Bullard II, Inc., Rockford, Ill. 800-248-8120
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Publication:Metalworking Insiders' Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 17, 2002
Previous Article:November M-T orders are 47% below year-ago.
Next Article:After single-month spike for aerospace, orders slow in November.

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