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Sold: Walden's Machine: Aerospace company acquired
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Sold: Walden's Machine: Aerospace company acquired

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Walden's Machine Inc., a 30-year-old Tulsa aerospace company, has been acquired by Primus International Inc., a Bellevue, Wash.-based commercial and military aircraft component manufacturer, executives said.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed by the companies, which are privately held.

The acquisition is expected to create 30 jobs over the next year at Walden's, officials said. The firm employs 210 people, up from 160 a year ago.

Primus CEO Jim Hoover said in a written statement that the acquisition will benefit employees and customers because the companies' product lines are complementary. Both firms manufacture commercial and military aircraft components and, in some cases -- the Boeing 737, 777 and 787 -- for the same aircraft, Hoover said.

Primus operates two aircraft component manufacturing plants in the Seattle area as well as facilities in Wichita and Suzhou, China.

"This strategic acquisition diversifies our customer base and helps expand our geographic presence by adding further manufacturing, integration and assembly centers located near our customers," Hoover said. "Walden's Machine Inc. also adds an outstanding team of highly focused, dedicated and talented employees who have a proven track record of performance. Together, we believe the combined company will be able to better serve our global customers."

Randy Baskins, formerly CEO of Walden's Machine and now executive vice president of the Walden's division of Primus International, said the acquisition will provide the Tulsa company with additional resources.

"Primus and Walden's Machine Inc. are similar in many ways: Our cultures are complementary and we have a shared strategic vision," Baskins said in a written statement. "Both companies generate industry-leading performance and flight-critical products that, in combination, provide future opportunity to deliver higher-value kits and assemblies with world-class quality and performance."

Founded in 1976, Walden's manufactures a range of precision components and subsystems for commercial, regional jet, and military fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. Its customers include Boeing Co., Spirit AeroSystems Inc., Bell Helicopter and Embraer, the Brazilian aircraft company.

Speaking in a telephone interview, Baskins said Walden's acquisition by Primus will strengthen the company and lead to additional job growth. He said the companies have been negotiating the transaction for about six months.

"We think it's a great deal," Baskins said. "It gives us a strong team to unite with to provide more resources for our customers and more security in the market in the long run.

"We expect employment will continue to grow in the 240-range in the next year. It all depends on the aerospace (business) cycle. It's the strongest cycle I've been involved with since I joined Walden's in 1980. We're trying to build a team with diverse capabilities, a diverse customer base and that is diverse geographically."

In recent years, Walden's has supplied customers such as Boeing, Bell Helicopters and Spirit AeroSystems with aircraft component kits, Baskins said.

A kit for an aircraft wing, for instance, will include a boxed set of 10 structural ribs, bushings, brackets and miscellaneous hardware -- everything an aircraft assembler needs to fabricate a component of the airplane, Baskins said.

Primus spokesman David Endicott said in a telephone interview that the Washington firm plans to grow the Walden's division.

"It's probably quite likely it will grow," Endicott said. "Primus' strategy is growth at all of its plants. The issue of outsourcing jobs overseas -- no, that's not our strategy. Our strategy is to grow all our plants."

Primus was formed seven years ago through the integration of three companies that were suppliers to Boeing. The companies now are three divisions of Primus.

The University Swaging division engineers and manufactures flight control components and assemblies for fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and spacecraft.

Primus' Hansen Machine division produces high-quality, close-tolerance hardware, including gears, gear boxes, splined parts and special fasteners.

The Bumstead Manufacturing division specializes in close-tolerance machining of aluminum and hard alloys, according to the company's Web site at www.primusint.com.


D.R. Stewart 581-8451

don.stewart@tulsaworld.com

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