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Castle Harlan Acquires Add-On To Engraving Platform –

Castle Harlan Inc. recently announced the acquisition of Technifor S.A., a Miribel, France-based manufacturer of marking and engraving machines. The total purchase price was approximately $14 million, said a source close to the deal.

The companies involved declined to comment on details of the transaction.

Robert Wages, managing director at Castle Harlan, credits French intermediary Socitex S.A. with introducing the New York-based merchant bank to its first acquisition of 2003.

“Of course, the intermediary was trying to get us to think there were other interested parties, but this was mostly a negotiated transaction,” said Wages. “The founder was reaching retirement age and wanted to realize some liquidity.”

Technifor will serve as an add-on to Castle Harlan’s Gravograph platform, and according to Wages, the purchase will increase Gravograph’s annual revenues to $120 million this year. Wages declined to comment on past revenue.

Gravograph, while headquartered in Atlanta, has an operating facility in Troyes, France, and manufactures machines similar to those made by Technifor. Technifor’s CEO will remain in place, Wages said.

Castle Harlan utilized Castle Harlan Partners III, the firm’s $630 million fund that announced its final close in 1997. The firm was tight-lipped regarding dry powder in the fund, but it is currently raising its fourth fund, due to close in the first half of 2003.

Technifor marking machines are used for quality control, automatic identification and permanent traceability on metallic and plastic parts. Eighty percent of Technifor’s sales occur outside its native France through eight subsidiaries, and 50% of its total sales are within the automotive sector. The U.S. is the largest market for both Technifor and Gravograph, and will account for approximately $45 million of the combined 2003 revenues.