June 22, 2018
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British company acquires Caribou facility, promises investment

By Whit Richardson, BDN Staff

CARIBOU, Maine — A British company has acquired a manufacturing facility in Caribou and pledged to grow the workforce there.

Porvair PLC on Tuesday announced it had acquired Eisenmann Metallurgical LLC in a deal worth $5.5 million. Porvair is based in King’s Lynn, a town 100 miles north of London.

Mark Eisenmann, who has owned Eisenmann Metallurgical with his wife for the past 10 years, said the company has grown its staff in Caribou from 20 to 40 people in the past three years, and was looking for a partner to help take the business to the next level.

“[The company] was growing rapidly and we were looking for a partner with the financial strength to invest in a new building and add jobs and equipment in Caribou,” Eisenmann told the Bangor Daily News on Friday.

While the company’s headquarters is in Burlington, Conn., its sole manufacturing facility is in Caribou. The company, which was founded by Ron Chand in Worcester, Mass., in 1983, has operated the facility in Aroostook County for 25 years and technically still does business as Chand Eisenmann Metallurgical.

The employees in Caribou manufacture porous metal products used for filtration and flow control, which is “a niche business,” Eisenmann said. “There are only about a dozen companies in the world that do it.”

The industrial applications, though, are diverse: The aerospace, oil and gas and medical industries are all customers, Eisenmann said. It’s not a residential product. “You won’t see these at Home Depot or Lowe’s or anything like that,” he said.

Austin Bleess, Caribou’s city manager, said the company has flown under the radar for several years. “They’re in a small building and do great work, but a lot of people haven’t known they were there, Bleess said.

Currently, Eisenmann exports about 15 percent of its business to customers in Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada and Mexico, he said. The other 85 percent is all sold in the United States. Eisenmann declined to disclose the company’s annual revenue.

Porvair, which employees 600 people in the U.K., Germany, China and the United States, also manufactures filtration devices, though not of the same type, Eisenmann said.

Ben Stocks, Porvair’s CEO, said in a statement that Eisenmann offered a good strategic acquisition.

“[Eisenmann] is a highly complementary bolt-on acquisition which broadens our product range, geographic spread and materials expertise,” Stocks said in a statement. “There are many cross-selling opportunities apparent in this transaction and we plan to invest in the Caribou facility over the next 12 months to accommodate the expected growth.”

Eisenmann said Porvair plans to build a larger manufacturing facility in Caribou and invest in more equipment. Porvair’s national sales network and marketing capabilities will also help the Caribou facility grow, he said.

Bleess hasn’t met the Porvair officials yet, but said he’s looking forward to working with them to support the business and grow their local workforce.

“We’re very hopeful they’ll continue to expand here in Caribou,” Bleess said.

Eisenmann traveled to Aroostook County this week to inform his employees of the sale.

“It’s been received well,” he said. “Everyone is excited about growing the business and continuing what we’ve been able to accomplish in the past few years.”

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