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Lincoln Electric to acquire 3 welding businesses



Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc., Cleveland, OH, has closed the previously announced transactions to acquire controlling interests in three welding businesses in China.


With completion of the transactions, Lincoln owns the majority of a welding equipment manufacturing facility currently under construction in the Baoshan district of Shanghai, together with two welding consumables operations -- a flux-cored wire facility also located in Baoshan and a stick electrode factory in northern China.


''The announcement today is the result of a successful and focused strategy for Lincoln to secure a leading position in the growing market for arc welding products in China,'' said Anthony A. Massaro, Lincoln's Chairman. ''Our majority position in these businesses will help expand our platform in China and widen our distribution network through an established organization and structure.''


Chairman Tai Long Chou of Kuang Tai Metal Industrial Company Limited and Singapore-based Tenwell Development Pte Ltd., a member of the Kuang Tai Group, are Lincoln's current partners in the Chinese joint ventures and will retain minority stakes in the businesses.


''Our strong business relationship with our joint venture partners in China has been an important part of our successful investment in the world's leading growth market for welding products and has contributed to help accomplish our growing position. We look forward to continuing our successful venture as we expand Lincoln's market share in the region,'' Mr. Massaro said.


Annual sales of between $50 million and $60 million are expected for the acquired Chinese entities, in addition to revenues from another welding consumables facility in which Lincoln currently holds a 48% stake. This manufacturing operation, jointly owned with Tenwell and Kuang Tai, had 2003 revenues of approximately $65 million and maintains a leading position in the MIG wire market in China.

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