CHICAGO — Illinois Tool Works Inc.'s decorating unit has been on a buying binge, purchasing two units of printing company Meyercord Co. earlier this month and picking up a major German pad printer early this year to launch an expansion outside North America.
ITW Decorating Group, based in Glenview, Ill., purchased Meyercord's Revenue and Printed Products divisions June 6 for an undisclosed sum, Thomas Mann, president of ITW's decorating systems businesses, said in an interview from NPE 1997 in Chicago.
The Revenue Division makes tax stamps for cigarettes and tamper-evident materials, and the Printed Products unit makes heat-transfer decals. The Meyercord units are in ``marketing niches'' ITW does not have, he said.
The firm also bought Marlock GmbH, a Baiersbronn, Germany-based pad printer, for an undisclosed amount early this year, Mann said.
The German acquisition launches a push to boost the worldwide profile of the decorating business, he said.
``All of our business units sell into other countries,'' he said. ``We are beginning to look at other markets besides North America in a more focused manner.''
Mann said he could not say if that meant acquisitions, alliances or other expansions. Specific plans could be developed in a year, he added.
``We think there is growth in Europe,'' Mann said. ``If we concentrate on it, we think we can get some of it.''
Heinz Grob, vice president and general manager of ITW's Trans Tech America Inc. unit, said that ``ITW wants to become a worldwide force in the decorating industry.''
ITW had $5.3 billion in sales last year but Mann would not say how much of that came from decorating.
``We are a very significant part of the industry,'' he said. ``I'd like to keep our size to us.''
Meyercord, based in Carol Stream, Ill., will be left with one other division, its Marking Films unit, said Meyercord marketing coordinator Jennifer Jeziorski. She said she did not know how much of the company's sales came from the two units that were sold.
Production for both Meyercord divisions will remain in the Carol Stream facility. There are no plans to move the equipment and ITW will lease the space there, Mann said.
Some of Meyercord's headquarters facilities will remain in the same building, according to Jeziorski.