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Wilmington-based Precision Hydraulic Cylinders Acquired For $85M

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Mar 1, 2018
A Carthage, Missouri-based company has acquired Precision Hydraulic Cylinders, a global manufacturer of engineered hydraulic cylinders headquartered in Wilmington, for $85 million.

Leggett & Platt Inc. acquired Precision Hydraulic Cylinders (PHC) on Jan. 31, according to officials with Leggett & Platt Inc. Susan McCoy, vice president of investor relations for the Missouri company, said Thursday that the firm's officials have no plans to change the location of PHC’s headquarters or operations in North Carolina.

PHC specializes in the supply of hydraulic cylinders to many of the global original equipment manufacturers in the mobile equipment markets, according to the company's website. McCoy said PHC has corporate and administrative offices in Wilmington.

With the acquisition, PHC has become a division of Leggett & Platt Inc., she said, adding that Chris Barclay will remain head of PHC and it will continue to be managed by the local management team, McCoy said Thursday. 

"Leggett & Platt is a very successful company with great depth that has … demonstrated a lot of capability,” Barclay, now president of PHC, said. “We think it’s good for all of our employees and for the business. We’re excited about Leggett & Platt’s ability to support the future of the business.”

He added that with Leggett & Platt, “we look to grow the business both domestically and internationally.”

Barclay founded the company in 2002 and today, PHC employs about 17 people in the Wilmington area, and about 215 overall in North Carolina.

PHC has more than 400 employees around the world, McCoy said. According to PHC's website, the company has two manufacturing facilities in North Carolina, in Beulaville and the other in Wallace, and others outside the U.S. -- one in Cramlington, England, and the other in Chennai, India. 

The long-term plan for the company would be to grow PHC, “meaning we would not reduce the number of local employees,” McCoy said.

“We think by working together, we can help them continue to grow, ” McCoy said. “This will prove favorable for the local community, as well as PHC’s ability to compete globally.”

PHC has current annual revenues of $81 million and “represents an attractive new growth platform for us,” Karl Glassman, Leggett & Platt’s president and CEO, said in a statement made in the company’s 2018 earnings press release.

“Hydraulic cylinders are one of a handful of new markets identified during the Styles of Competition analysis and growth process we began in 2016. PHC serves a market of mainly large OEM customers utilizing highly engineered, co-designed components with long product lifecycles, yet representing a small part of the end product’s cost," Glassman said in his comments during the fourth quarter earnings call. "This business aligns extremely well with the Critical Components style shared by many of our strongest performing operations and is expected to add 2 percent to our 2018 sales. Hydraulic Cylinders will be a new business unit in our Specialized Products segment ... We welcome PHC’s employees in North Carolina, the U.K. and India to the Leggett & Platt family."

This transaction marks Leggett & Platt’s entry into the hydraulic cylinder market, McCoy said, adding, "we would expect to make additional investments over time.”

PHC is not the only business in North Carolina for Leggett & Platt. North Carolina has been an important state for the company’s business operations for many decades prior to Leggett & Platt’s acquisition of PHC.

The company’s largest operation in the state is its Hanes Companies business and manufacturing operations in Winston-Salem. Hanes Companies Inc., a division of Leggett & Platt, is a diverse supplier, converter and distributor of a variety of products and services in multiple markets across North America and Europe. Leggett & Platt acquired the company in 1993, McCoy said. It also has a sizable furniture spring manufacturing facility in High Point.

Leggett & Platt is a 135-year-old diversified manufacturer that designs and produces engineered products found in most homes and automobiles, according to the company's description. 

The company is made up of 14 business units (including PHC), 22,000 employee partners and 120 manufacturing facilities located in 18 countries. Leggett & Platt is a U.S. manufacturer of bedding components; automotive seat support and lumbar systems; components for home furniture and work furniture; carpet cushion; adjustable beds; high-carbon drawn steel wire; bedding industry machinery and has recently added hydraulic cylinders to the list, McCoy said.
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