Aerospace metal components supplier Precision Castparts Corp. is acquiring Composites Horizons LLC, which has growing capabilities in ceramic matrix composite production. Terms were withheld.
The seller is American Industrial Partners LLC of New York, a middle-market private equity firm that acquired Composites Horizons in November 2012.
“What got their interest was our capability in ceramics,” Jeffrey Hynes, Composites Horizons president and CEO, said in an interview. “It is a strategic move on the part of PCC recognizing the potential for high-temperature composite materials including polyimides and ceramics.”
Composites Horizons of Covina, Calif., also makes carbon-fiber-reinforced bismaleimide aerospace components.
“Ceramics can replace nickel-based alloys and titanium” in critical engine parts, Hynes said. While ceramics have polymers in their pre-ceramic phases, the end product is aluminum oxide “and that is the class in which we are most active.”
Ceramics account now for about 5 percent of Composites Horizons' business, but that “will be growing to 25 percent within five years,” Hynes said.
As for overall sales, Hynes said 2015 results are on track to increase 36 percent vs. 2014. Composites Horizons withholds sales details.
The overlapping customer bases for PCC and Composites Horizons include General Electric Co., United Technology Corp.'s Pratt & Whitney subsidiary, Snecma SA, Rolls-Royce Holdings plc and Honeywell International Inc.
Composites Horizons employs about 200 and has positions on next-generation commercial aircraft platforms such as the A320neo, 737 MAX, 777X, 787 and A350XWB.
After a mid-2013 presentation, GE Aviation awarded a contract under which Composites Horizons will make ceramic matrix composites for components on an exhaust system for a key business aircraft engine program. That contract drove Composites Horizons to invest about $12 million in new equipment and processes and get more space. In January, the firm began full-scale operations in its fourth building.
For future growth, a fifth facility is needed, Hynes said. Composites Horizons is completing the lease on a 36,000-square-foot clean-room-equipped building that adjoins one of its existing structures.
The additional space will give the firm 162,000 square feet on a single block in Covina, near Los Angeles. Composites Horizons owns one facility and, upon completion of the new lease, will also occupy four other properties.
The companies expect the close the deal before the end of September. Principals agreed to the deal during the weekend of July 11-12.
Composite Horizons will become part of PCC's investment cast products business segment, which makes components for aircraft engines, industrial gas turbine engines, airframes, medical implants, armament, unmanned aerial vehicles and other industrial applications.
Publicly traded Portland, Ore.-based PCC employed 30,106 as of March 29 and, for the fiscal year ending on that date, reported profit of $1.53 billion on sales of $10 billion.