Proto Labs Files for IPO, Expects to Raise $100M

The Maple Plain-based maker of custom mechanical parts-which reported $64.9 million in 2010 revenue-will use the net proceeds from its offering for "working capital and general corporate purposes."

A Maple Plain-based company that makes custom mechanical parts for product developers worldwide has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) of stock that would raise up to $100 million.

Proto Labs, Inc., will use the net proceeds from its offering for “working capital and general corporate purposes,” according to documents filed Monday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Founded in 1999, Proto Labs reported $64.9 million in revenue and $15.9 million in earnings in 2010. This year, the company is growing at a more rapid rate, having generated $22.3 million in revenue and $7.1 million in earnings during the first three months of 2011.

Proto Labs uses high-tech machining and injection molding to manufacture parts for customers in a variety of industries. The parts are typically used for prototypes and short-run productions. Unlike many custom manufacturers, Proto Labs specializes in low-volume production-“an underserved market due to the inefficiencies inherent in the quotation, equipment set-up, and non-recurring engineering processes required to product custom parts,” according to its Monday SEC filing. The company's tagline is “Real Parts. Really Fast.”

Proto Labs has applied to have its common stock listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “PRLB.”

The company-which has manufacturing operations in the United States, Europe, and Japan-employed 430 full-time employees as of June 30.

Minnesota's IPO activity has been sluggish in recent years amid economic uncertainty. Only two local companies went public in 2010-New Prague-based Electromed, Inc., and Minneapolis-based SPS Commerce-up from one in 2009 and none in 2008.

So far this year, Plymouth-based Kips Bay Medical, Inc., and Amsterdam-based medical device company Tornier, which has its U.S. headquarters in Edina, are the only Minnesota companies to have gone public.

In April, Eden Prairie-based catalog and online retailer Bluestem Brands, Inc., filed for an IPO that could raise up to $150 million-but the company hasn't yet completed its offering.