NDT News: GE Acquires AGFA, R/D Buys Panametrics

February 1, 2004
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A spate of mergers and acquistions has occured lately.

BENSENVILLE, IL-With the economy improving, NDT spending projections reaching record levels, and increased attention of the NDT market by NASA's return to flight activities, a spate of mergers and acquisitions has occurred recently.

GE Aircraft Engines (GEAE) has acquired the Agfa-Gevaert Nondestruc-tive Testing (Agfa NDT) business unit. Agfa NDT will be combined with GEAE's nondestructive testing business and be renamed GE Inspection Technologies. Jeff Nagel has been named president of the new company.

"GE Inspection Technologies combines the strength of Agfa's NDT products and support network with GE's leading-edge inspection technologies and manufacturing expertise," says Nagel. "The new business will offer solutions that improve the productivity of manufacturing and service operations of customers across a wide range of businesses."

Under terms of the agreement, GE Inspection Technologies will be the exclusive seller of Agfa NDT X-ray film. Agfa will retain its NDT X-ray film production.

Because of concerns from the European Commission over the acquisition, GE offered divested its entire ultrasonic NDT business that operated as part of its subsidiary, Panametrics. R/D Tech Inc. (Quebec) has acquired the subsidiary.

The company is now called Panametrics-NDT, A Business of R/D Tech. It will continue to develop and promote the complete line of thickness gages and transducers, and sell them under the Panametrics brand. The complementary product portfolios and markets for both companies are reasons for the acquisition according to Alain Allard, CEO of R/D Tech.

This deal includes the Panametrics facility in Waltham, MA, and sales offices in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, Benelux and Japan.

This was the second recent acquisition for R/D Tech. In September, R/D Tech acquired NDT Engineering (Seattle, WA).

NDT Engineering, which was founded as an eddy current company in 1962, designs eddy current probes, ultrasonic transducers, aircraft-specific calibration standards, one-pass EC wheel probe and EDM notch machining services. The company serves aircraft manufacturers, operators, and overhaul-maintenance facilities, both commercial and military.



Other recent acquisitions

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  • Longview Inspection Inc. (Houston) acquired the assets of GFS/NDE Inc., formerly a division of Tru-Tec Services Inc, a Koch Chemical Technology Group Co.

    GFS/NDE is headquartered in North Canton, OH, and maintains full service laboratories in North Canton; Erie, PA; and Dayton, OH. Its laboratories will remain at their current locations and will report to Jim Gustafson, Longview's North Central Region manager.

    Longview Inspection operates 25 full-service laboratories located throughout the U.S. The company is a subsidiary of Rockwood Service Corporation, which also owns Canspec Inc., a nondestructive testing and materials engineering company in Canada, Sperry Rail Service Inc., the largest rail track testing company in the world, and, Hellier Training and Consulting, a provider of nondestructive testing training with locations in Connecticut, Texas and California.

    Longview also established a new facility in Escanaba, MI, after winning the contract to do real time digital radiographic inspection for Ford. Longview will inspect a component of the new 6.0 liter Navistar diesel engine manufactured for Ford's super duty F250 and F350 trucks.

  • Thayer Capital Partners completed an investment in closely held MISTRAS Holdings Group (Princeton, NJ), makers of NDT equipment. The investment led to MISTRAS' purchase of CONAM Inspection (Glendale Heights, IL), one of the nation's largest NDT service companies.

    MISTRAS Holdings has four subsidiaries/divisions in the United States: Physical Acoustics Corporation (PAC), NDT Automation, Vibra-Metrics and Quality Services Laboratories, Inc. (QSL-Plus) and trades globally under the name of "Physical Acoustics" with 10 additional worldwide subsidiaries.

    "By investing in this market through MISTRAS and its operating subsidiaries, and facilitating the CONAM acquisition, Thayer has developed an ongoing partnership with one of the world's foremost NDT companies," Thayer Managing Partner Dan Dickinson explained. "The NDT equipment and services market is a high-margin, high-growth niche within the $100 billion test and measurement industry," says Thayer Managing Director Daniel Raskas.

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