Sweden's Sandvik to buy Metrologic in digital manufacturing push

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden’s Sandvik, the world’s biggest maker of metal cutting tools, has agreed to buy measurement technology company Metrologic Group for 360 million euros (316.18 million pounds) to strengthen its position in digital manufacturing.

FILE PHOTO: A worker cuts through steel at the Southern African Shipyards where a tug for the state-owned enterprise Portnet is under construction, in Durban, South Africa, March 29, 2018. REUTERS/Rogan Ward/File Photo

Sandvik said on Friday it was buying the French software company from private equity firm Astorg Partners.

Metrologic specialises in metrology, an important measurement technology for assuring product quality as industrial plants become increasingly automated.

It also sells automation and robotics control software, as well as services for calibration and 3D-measuring, with its products used in a variety of industries.

Sandvik’s Machining Solutions (SMS) business has been looking to expand its software capabilities, and has pointed to metrology as a key area of interest.

It is also looking to build on its expertise in 3D printing to try to stay ahead of rivals and adapt to emerging challenges such as the rise of the electric car.

“This enables a broadened customer offering covering more of the total manufacturing value chain,” Sandvik Chief Executive Bjorn Rosengren said of the deal.

Metrologic has annual revenues of around 43 million euros, and Sandvik said its EBITDA operating margin would help to increase that of SMS.

The Swedish company, which competes with companies such as Atlas Copco in mining equipment and U.S. firm Kennametal in metal cutting, said Metrologic would form a new business unit within a new product area in SMS, and maintain brand independence.

SMS accounts for around 40 percent of Sandvik’s revenue and has by far the highest profitability in the group.

Sandvik added the impact on earnings per share would initially be neutral to slightly positive, and the transaction was expected to close around the middle of the year.

Reporting by Helena Soderpalm and Johannes Hellstrom; Editing by Mark Potter