Portland Forge (pictured) and a sister facility in Lebanon, Kentucky, have been sold by Allegheny Technologies to Wynnchurch Capital. (The Commercial Review/Pauleina Brunnemer)
Portland Forge (pictured) and a sister facility in Lebanon, Kentucky, have been sold by Allegheny Technologies to Wynnchurch Capital. (The Commercial Review/Pauleina Brunnemer)
Portland Forge has been sold.

The 110-year-old local industry and a sister operation in Lebanon, Kentucky, have been acquired from Allegheny Technologies Inc. by Wynnchurch Capital LLC for $37 million in cash.

The transaction was made public Monday morning.

Headquartered in suburban Chicago’s Rosemont, Illinois, Wynnchurch is a private equity investment firm that specializes in middle market companies in the U.S. and Canada.

The two forging plants had sales in 2018 totaling $86 million.

“The Portland and Lebanon operations are well-positioned businesses that have provided customized products to their customers for decades,” said Wynnchurch managing director Greg Gleason in a prepared statement. “We look forward to partnering with management and the company’s dedicated employees.”

“The business has built a track record of delivering quality and reliable forging solutions to its blue-chip customer base,” added operating partner Paul Ciolino. “We believe there is potential to leverage that reputation and unlock significant growth in the business.”

Wynnchurch has made a number of middle market acquisitions lately. In April, it acquired Alliance Designer Products Inc., a manufacturer of polymeric sand and other landscape products.

Other acquisitions include Boss Industries, a maker of power take-off and engine driven rotary screw air technologies; Infra Pipe Solutions, a manufacturer of large diameter, high density polyethylene pipe; Logistik Unicorp Inc., which is involved in uniforms and clothing; Critical Process Systems Group, an engineering firm; and Team Car Care, a quick oil change business.

Founded in 1999, Wynnchurch manages a number of private equity funds with $2.2 billion of capital.

Proceeds from the sale, which is expected to close in the second quarter of this year, will be used by ATI to reduce its corporate debt and meet its pension funding obligations.

Both Portland Forge and the Kentucky plant produce carbon steel forged products for use in the oil and gas, mining, construction and transportation industries.

ATI is now focusing on growth opportunities primarily in aerospace and defense, particularly in nickel and titanium products.

“ATI’s primary focus is aerospace,” Jay County Development Corporation executive director Travis Richards said Monday. “They (Portland Forge) don’t fit as neatly into that core.”

At its peak in 1979, Portland Forge counted 605 employees. In more recent years, the number has been under 200.

It began at its current location on the north side of Portland in 1909 as the Portland Foundry and Machine Company but traces its original roots to Moffitt and Sees Company, a small shop that was located on North Street on the east side of the city.

The company was reorganized in 1915 and incorporated as Portland Forge and Foundry. The foundry operation was discontinued in the 1920, though it remained part of the company’s legal name until 1959.

The forge was deeply involved in defense work in World War II, making forgings for submarines, trucks and artillery. Defense work continued during the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

In 1967, the forge became part of a vast conglomerate known as Teledyne and its name was changed to Teledyne Portland Forge. In 1996, Teledyne merged with Allegheny Ludlum. The forge then became part of Allegheny Technologies.
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