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Salem-based Hunt Valve Company sold

Hunt Valve Company, Inc., a Salem-based specialty manufacturer of valves and electromechanical actuators for U.S. maritime agencies and other industrial customers, has been acquired by Fairbanks Morse Defense.

“We love Hunt for a lot of reasons; they have a fantastic brand and reputation,” George Whittier, CEO, Fairbanks Morse Defense, said. “Their focus is on the (U.S.) Navy. About 90 percent of their business is actually in the Navy and (U.S.) Coast Guard defense space, and that’s really where Fairbanks Morse Defense operates.

“We operate in that same platform and we are looking for really good brands, very well-known brands (with) great quality, great products to help us expand our product portfolio and offerings within that space, and Hunt is a really easy fit when we take a look at that criteria,” Whittier said.

Hunt Valve employs about 100 at its facility in Salem and about 50 more in Montreal, Canada. The transaction includes Hunt Valve, the Hunt actuator division, MB (Montreal Bronze) and Pima Valve LLC, a Hunt Valve brand.

Hunt Valve’s four brands specialize in manufacturing severe-duty valves, complementary engineered components and system solutions. Its valves and actuators are used aboard surface ships and submarines, including the Virginia-class submarine, Columbia-class submarine and Ford-class aircraft carriers. Customers include the U.S. Navy, navy shipyards, Naval Supply Systems Command and Defense Logistics Agency.

“Our goal with the company is absolutely to grow it. The Hunt business is focused on key markets in the Navy — and they are doing a fantastic job with that — but there are a couple of others the Hunt team doesn’t have the breadth to cover where the Fairbanks Morse Defense business has that breadth,” Whittier said.

“Our expectation is we are going to be able to take Hunt and really make them a much broader player and competitor for the Navy, and I would like to see us double the business in the next couple years,” he said. “That is a big goal … but with that we would absolutely be looking to add some people, add some resources in Salem. We look at Salem as an exceptional facility, great manufacturing location (with a) very talented workforce, and we want to try to build on that.”

The company will continue under the Hunt Valve brand.

Fairbanks Morse is a Beloit, Wisc.-based company with a division that produces large diesel engines for the Navy and Coast Guard, Fairbanks Morse Engine; another that performs maintenance, Fairbanks Morse Service; and Ward Leonard, which makes motors and controllers.

The company is a portfolio firm of Arcline Investment, a private-equity firm with $4.3 billion in capital commitments, according to its website. The firm invests in niche companies mostly in the defense, aerospace, infrastructure services, industrial and medical technology, life sciences and specialty materials sectors.

“Opportunities to serve the defense industries are increasing with the need to support aging vessels, and that outlook remains strong with the rapid addition of new platforms to various fleets,” Charles Ferrer, Hunt Valve CEO, said. “Becoming part of the Fairbanks Morse Defense team places us in a better position to leverage these opportunities and to accelerate our growth.”

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