Novatec Inc., a Baltimore-based maker of dryers, blenders and conveying equipment, has a new owner: a group of investors led by auxiliary equipment veterans Conrad Bessemer and Lawrence DeBaugh.
Bessemer will be Novatec's president and chief executive officer. He resigned Feb. 20 from Pittsburgh-based auxiliary manufacturer Conair Group Inc., ending a 19-year career in Conair management.
DeBaugh, who was president of Novatec, now is chairman. Bessemer declined to identify other investors or say how many are in the group. Terms of the deal, announced May 11, were not disclosed. Bessemer said it was a cash acquisition.
The new management group's strategy is to build on the company's strength as a ``leader in the engineering of total resin-handling systems and a supplier of the industry's broadest range of resin dryers,'' Bessemer said.
Bessemer said the leaders plan to double Novatec's size during the next three years. He declined to give the company's sales. Novatec employs about 120, according to Bessemer.
Longtime Executive Vice President Jack Doub will remain in that position. He is not a member of the investor group, Bessemer said.
Bessemer said Novatec will hire additional key employees soon.
The strategy is to grow by offering innovative equipment and a broader product range, using new marketing initiatives and expanding to become a more global player.
Bessemer thinks Novatec can sell more equipment in Europe and Asia. Currently, about 10-15 percent of the company's business comes from outside North America. ``Our goal is to double that amount,'' he said.
The new owners do not have plans to set up a factory in China or Europe, according to Bessemer. ``We strongly believe that the U.S. manufacturing base is fine. We would have inventory - finished goods - in Europe and Asia,'' he said. Keeping machines and parts in stock near customers is important, since they want quick delivery, Bessemer said.
As for innovation, Novatec will focus on energy-efficient dryers. Bessemer said about 20,000 dryers now in operation are at least 10 years old and use too much energy.
Novatec makes a full range of drying products, including hot air, compressed air, desiccant and a new technology - infrared radiation.
Novatec plans to introduce at NPE 2006 an infrared radiation product that it said can dry and crystallize PET within 15 minutes of startup. Bessemer said Novatec also will introduce two other dryers.
Bessemer, DeBaugh and the other private investors bought Novatec from a group of about 50 investors.
Novatec has a long history in drying. In the late 1930s, before it was known as Novatec, the company began supplying dehumidifying equipment to the U.S. military. Novatec began specializing in plastics equipment in 1973. The company later diversified into conveying systems and other equipment for handling plastics raw materials.