3M to Acquire Swiss Company for $448 Million

The acquisition of Winterthur will enhance and extend 3M's existing product line, according to the Maplewood-based company.

3M Company on Monday announced plans to acquire Winterthur, a Swiss supplier of precision grinding technology, for about $448 million.

Under the agreement, 3M will pay $63.56 for each share through a public tender offer. Winterthur's stock closed at $59.46 per share on Friday.

The offer will require a tendering of 66.67 percent of Winterthur's shares. The company's chairman, Edgar Rappold, will tender his 14 percent stake as part of the agreement. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2011.

3M-which provides technologies for the consumer, electronics, health care, industrial, and transportation markets-said in a news release that the acquisition will enable the company to provide solutions for a broader range of industrial grinding and finishing needs, and extends 3M's reach in numerous abrasives applications.

Increased demand for hard-to-grind and high-precision materials is fueling need for Winterthur's abrasive tools-with the $14 billion market expected to grow at more than 4 percent annually, according to 3M.

Winterthur develops and manufactures high-margin grinding tools used in the cutting tool, automotive, turbine, machine tool, and steel industry. The company's products-which include ceramic grinding wheels and synthetic resin bonded grinding wheels, among others-are distributed in Europe, North and South America, and Asia.

The company employs approximately 1,300 people and reported sales of $114 million in the first half of this year, up 30 percent from a year earlier.

“We believe 3M is the ideal strategic partner for a sustainable development of Winterthur,” Rappold said in a statement.”3M's purchase offer is in the best interests of Winterthur, our shareholders, employees, clients, and suppliers. The transaction promises a successful shared future for a company that is admired around the world for its power to innovate.”

Maplewood-based 3M is among Minnesota's 10 largest public companies based on revenue, which exceeded $23 billion in 2009. The company employs 75,000 people and has operations in more than 65 countries.