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Barnes reports Synventive financials, plans acquisitions

By: Bill Bregar

February 22, 2013

BRISTOL, CONN. — Barnes Group Inc. reported $1.23 billion in 2012 sales, and Barnes executives said $60 million in partial-year sales from hot-runner maker Synventive Molding Solutions Inc. helped fourth-quarter sales increase by 16 percent, to $327.4 million.

Barnes paid $335 million for Synventive in a deal that closed Aug. 27. Barnes' fiscal year ends Dec. 31. Barnes said Synventive generated total sales of $160 million over the full year.

"In general we're very happy with the business. Six months in, there's no buyer's remorse," said Barnes President and CEO Gregory Milzcik in a Feb. 22 conference call with financial analysts.

Barnes is traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Most of Barnes' business has been as a "build-to-print" supplier of components for aerospace and industrial markets. Buying Synventive, a global hot-runner manufacturer based in Peabody, Mass., is part of management's strategy to diversify into more intellectual-property-type businesses.

Feb. 22 was a big day for announcements, even beyond the year-end numbers. Barnes also said it is selling its North American distribution business to MSC Industrial Direct Co. Inc. for $550 million.

Executives told financial analysts they are going to use money from the sale to reduce debt and buy back shares.

But Milzcik said Barnes also wants to buy more companies. "We have a large appetite for acquisitions, especially now," he said. "For right now, we're looking at businesses for acquisition that are aligned with the Synventive-orientated platform and as well our aero and industrial platforms, to meet those criteria. So bolt-on acquisitions is how I could identify those."

Another hot-runner major, Mold-Masters Ltd., is no longer for sale. Plastics machinery maker Milacron LLC announced Feb. 12 that it was buying Mold-Masters for $968 million.

In other news, Barnes announced that Milzcik is leaving the company after seven years as president and CEO. The Bristol-based company has promoted its current chief operating officer, Patrick Dempsey, to president and CEO. Dempsey, 48, is a 12-year veteran of Barnes Group and helped develop its strategic plan. He played a key role in the acquisition of Synventive.

Milzcik, 54, will remain with Barnes through May 3. A press release said he is retiring, but he said he plans to keep working.

"I intend in the short term to work with individuals and organizations to help shape public policy for manufacturing, which I think is sorely needed," he told analysts.

Milzcik serves on the executive committee of MAPI: Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation.