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PCC turns focus back to aerostructures

Keywords: Tags  Precision Castparts, Mark Donegan, Timet, Frank Haflich

LOS ANGELES — Precision Castparts Corp. (PCC), fresh off its $2.9-million takeover of Titanium Metals Corp. (Timet), has turned its eye back to aerostructures acquisitions following a profitable fiscal third quarter.

PCC chairman and chief executive officer Mark Donegan told financial analysts this week that the Portland, Ore.-based company, best known as a producer of investment castings, forgings and aircraft fasteners, expects to have about $5 billion in available cash to "deploy" through March 2016, with mergers and acquisitions getting top priority.

PCC acquired Dallas-based titanium producer Timet, which is now part of the company’s forgings segment, on Dec. 21. But the company has given no indication it’s looking to make another "needle-mover" acquisition in metals production, as Donegan referred to the Timet deal.

PCC launched an expansion into aerostructures about 18 months ago, picking up several airframe machining operations and manufacturers of aircraft parts, components and assemblies. Donegan indicated that the company is ready to resume activity in this area.

"I do not think that, by any stretch of the imagination, we’re done" acquiring aerostructures companies, he said, noting that probably 90 percent of the takeover discussions currently under way between PCC and potential targets are in that market.

Donegan said PCC has been talking with potential acquisition targets for about a year, and the company could deploy another $1 billion for a takeover bid "pretty quick" if needed.

PCC’s major aerostructures takeovers have included the $900-million purchase of Primus International Inc., a Bellevue, Wash., supplier of aerospace components and assemblies, in August 2011. Last year, it picked up the pace with the acquisitions of Centra Industries Inc., a Cambridge, Ontario-based manufacturer of machined airframe components and assemblies; Klune Industries Inc., North Hollywood, Calif., a manufacturer of aluminum, nickel, titanium and steel aircraft structures; three former machining operations of Montreal’s Héroux-Devtek Inc.; and Synchronous Aerospace Group, a Santa Ana, Calif.-based manufacturer of aerospace and defense mechanical assemblies.

PCC’s "vision" for the potential of the aerostructures market has turned out as good or better than PCC expected, Donegan said. One of the main reasons PCC finds the market so attractive is that it’s "an amazingly fragmented market" ripe for consolidation. PCC’s aerostructures units are now included in the airframe segment, which also includes its fastener operations.

PCC posted net income of $338 million for its fiscal third quarter ended Dec. 30, up 10 percent from $307.3 million in the same period a year earlier on sales that climbed 13.4 percent to more than $2.04 billion. Net income for the first nine months of its fiscal year topped $1.01 billion, up 14 percent from $888 million a year earlier on a 13-percent increase in sales to nearly $5.94 billion

A number of acquisitions factored into PCC’s fiscal third-quarter results, including Centra; Klune; the former Héroux-Devtek operations; Janesville, Wis.-based tubing producer RathGibson LLC; and Aerocraft Heat Treating Co. and Dickson Testing Co., two California aerospace testing and heat-treating firms.

PCC’s latest fiscal quarter also included partial results from two other acquisitions, Synchronous and Texas Honing Inc., a Pearland, Texas-based provider of pipe processing services. The impact of Timet’s contribution on the fiscal third-quarter’s results was "immaterial," the company said.

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