Stamford, Conn.-based Crane Co. has agreed to buy Noble Composites Inc. for $72 million. The all-cash deal will close in 30-60 days, pending regulatory approval.
Noble and its headquarters plant in Goshen, Ind., will become part of Crane's fiberglass-reinforced plastics division, Joliet, Ill.-based Crane Composites Inc. Noble makes high-gloss-finished composite panels for recreational vehicles. The 4-year-old company had $45 million in sales last year.
The acquisition was a natural one for Crane Composites' business, as about one third of the unit's sales come from the RV industry, said Julie Keith, Crane Composites' marketing director, in an Aug. 11 telephone interview.
``This is very much a complementary technology,'' she said. ``It broadens our product offering by allowing us to have a product that is being primarily used by the high-end motor home manufacturers.''
It will be business as usual for the day-to-day operations at Noble, Keith said. No major changes are expected. The Goshen plant employs about 155.
Noble President Larry Farver will stay on in Goshen for a year in a consulting capacity, said Jim Simmons, Crane Composites' vice president of business development. Farver's son, Ken Farver, will be general manager.
The new facility will be the fifth member of Crane Composites' manufacturing portfolio. The company also runs plants in Grand Junction, Tenn.; Jonesboro, Ark.; Florence, Ky.; and Alton, England. Crane Composites employs about 800. Crane, the parent company, employs about 10,500 worldwide.
One of Crane's primary FRP products is a finished exterior wall panel made with thermoset polyester for RVs.
A combination of market dynamics and good business practices is what propelled Noble to a $45 million operation in four short years.
Recreational air travel took a huge hit following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The bad fortune for the airlines was, in turn, a boon to the business of RV makers. RV use, as a recreational activity, really took off in 2002, and industry growth has continued as more and more baby boomers are retiring and choosing an RV as the preferred method for travel.
``There are a lot of good things going on in the industry, and that's why it's a good investment, too,'' Simmons said.
``It's still a very viable market segment,'' Keith added.