Waupaca Foundry sold to Tokyo-based firm

Posted on Aug 19, 2014 :: Insight on Business, Web Exclusive.
Sean P. Johnson
Posted by of Insight Publications
Workers at Waupaca Foundry use a giant furnace to turn scrap metal into liquid metal, which is then poured into multiple machines, turning out a variety of products, including the brake rotors for 75 percent of vehicles made in America.

Workers at Waupaca Foundry use a giant furnace to turn scrap metal into liquid metal, which is then poured into multiple machines, turning out a variety of products, including the brake rotors for 75 percent of vehicles made in America.

Waupaca Foundry Inc. will be sold to Hitachi Metals Ltd. for a reported $1.3 billion.

KPS Capital Partners LP, which acquired the foundry in 2012, announced the sale late Tuesday. Waupaca Foundry is the largest iron foundry company in the world, producing gray and ductile iron castings using state-of-the-art technology, according to a released statement. Waupaca is North America’s leading supplier of iron castings to the automotive, commercial vehicle, agriculture, construction and industrial markets.

Since purchasing the foundry, KPS has invested in capital upgrades and operational improvements, boosting profits by 40 percent in two years, according to the statement. That growth also led to 200 new jobs across all of the companies operations since 2012. Waupaca Foundry operates six manufacturing facilities, including three in Waupaca and one each in Marinette, Tell City, Ind. and Etowah, Tenn., that employ a workforce of 3,900.

“Two years ago, KPS recognized the significant potential of our business.  Together we transformed Waupaca Foundry into a world-class manufacturing company, grounded in a culture of continuous improvement,” says Gary Gigante, president and CEO of Waupaca Foundry. “This investment by Hitachi Metals in Waupaca Foundry’s world-class facilities and capabilities is a validation of what we have accomplished.”

Waupaca Foundry posted  sales of $1.74 billion in its most recent fiscal year. Prior to its sale to KPS, the foundry was owned ThyssenKrupp AG, of Essen, Germany.

Hitachi Metals was founded in 1910 as the Tobata Foundry and has a strong tradition in iron casting production, metal technology, and machining services. The corporation operates foundries the United States, Japan, Korea and India, and is headquartered in Japan.

The sale is expected to close during the fourth quarter, KPS said.