December 7, 2006 — A.Finkl & Sons, a fixture in the forging industry and in Chicago, has agreed to be acquired by Schmolz + Bickenbach AG for an undisclosed price.
Finkl operates a small electric furnace operation in Chicago, with several forging presses on the site, but claims it has outgrown the location. One explanation for agreeing to the takeover is that it has outgrown the location and needed a partner “to make the necessary investments in construction of a new plant.” It proposes to build its new plant on Chicago's South Side, at the former Verson Steel site it bought for $2.4 million last summer; or, at a former Slater Steel site in Tracy, PQ, adjacent to the Sorel Forge operation bought by Finkl in 2004.
In addition to the operations in Chicago and Quebec, Finkl has processing plants and sales offices in Mexico, Thailand, and the U.K. Its various products include custom forgings, cold work, hot formings, and pressure diecastings.
Schmolz + Bickenbach, a Swiss organization, has been spearheading a consolidation effort in Europe's specialty steel long-products market, which has seen it integrate upstream from its past as a processor and distributor. Among its acquisitions in the past few years have been the Swiss Steel AG organization and Arcelor's stainless long-products group, Ugitech.
The Finkl purchase is expected to close early in 2007. Reportedly, it will establish Schmolz + Bickenbach as the world's largest producer of tool steels. The buyer plans to keep Finkl's current management.
The Swiss group states that the Finkl organization fits “outstandingly well into the strategy of Schmolz + Bickenbach, AG, which specializes in the production, processing, and distribution of high-grade steel products.” It sees potential for “synergy” by ensuring supplies to already existing U.S. activities through the availability of large-dimensioned forged parts for the entire group, as well as penetration into new markets that were formerly not accessible.”