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Hardinge sells Swiss workholding business for nearly $6M

By Adam Rombel


ELMIRA — Hardinge Inc. (NASDAQ: HDNG), a global manufacturer of metal-cutting tools, announced Thursday it has sold its Swiss Forkardt workholding operations for about $5.9 million, net of cash remaining with the business.

The successful bidder was a private group that was led by management of the Swiss Forkardt business, according to Elmira–based Hardinge.

“We have contemplated the sale of this particular entity since we acquired the global Forkardt operations in May,” Richard L. Simons, chairman, president, and CEO of Hardinge, said in a news release.

He noted that Forkardt Switzerland has historically generated more than half its sales from two grinding-machine tool manufacturers that compete with Hardinge’s grinding-machine brands.

“Through conversations with these customers, we recognized the sensitivity of the situation and their likelihood of identifying alternative sources for workholding products. Although not material to Hardinge as a whole, we concluded that selling this stand-alone entity to the management team allowed us to avoid the costs and issues of what likely would have become a deteriorating business and provide continuation of employment for the approximately 25 employees who work there,” Simons said.

The sale agreement includes a mutual two-year non-compete clause and requires that the Swiss operation discontinue use of the Forkardt brand after one year, according to the news release.

Hardinge contended it continues to grow its workholding business through its operations in the U.S., France, and Germany. “The overall amount of sales and assets for the Swiss business are not material,” it said.

Hardinge says it makes high-precision, computer-controlled machine tools for the worldwide metal-working market and generates about 75 percent of its sales outside North America,

The company has manufacturing operations in China, France, Germany, Switzerland, Taiwan, the U.K., and the U.S.


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