Castle Harlan in French buy-and-build

The New York-based private equity house plans to merge French marking device manufacturer Technifor with its French engraving portfolio business.

(PrivateEquityCentral) New York-based private equity firm Castle Harlan has acquired marking device manufacturer Technifor with plans to merge it with its portfolio company, France-based Gravograph New Hermes. Financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed.


French-based Technifor manufactures marking devices for permanent product identification. The company has customers in the automotive and aeronautics industry. The majority of the company’s sales occur outside of France through eight subsidiaries and 80 distributors.


“They’re a perfect fit,” Robert Wages, a managing director at Castle Harlan, said in the statement. “Technifor’s marking devices are largely for utilitarian purposes – identification and traceability of parts – while Gravograph has a greater concern for the aesthetics and appearance of its end product.”


Castle Harlan acquired Gravograph Industrie International, which produces machines, accessories and materials used in the engraving industry, in May 2000, paying around $100m for the business. Gravograph’s major facilities are based in Atlanta in the US and Troyes, France. The US is by far the company's largest market, representing around 40 per cent of its sales.


Last month, Castle Harlan’s Australian affiliate, Castle Harlan Australian Mezzanine Partners, sponsored a $34.5m reorganisation of United Australia Pacific, which would make it the largest shareholder in Austar United Communications. United Australia Pacific owns approximately 80.7 per cent of Austar United, which provides satellite pay television service to rural Australia. Austar had revenues of $135.5m for the nine months ended September 30.


In October, Castle Harlan completed the sale of its drug and explosive detection portfolio company Ion Track to GE Industrial Systems, a division of General Electric for an undisclosed sum.


Castle Harlan was founded in 1987 by John Castle, former president and chief executive officer of investment banking firm Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, and Leonard Harlan, founder and former chairman of The Harlan Co. Since its inception, Castle Harlan has completed acquisitions exceeding $5bn. It is currently raising its fourth investment fund, targeted at $1.25bn.