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Landis Grinding to be sold

November 01, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, PA.

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

The president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp. said Monday he hopes the sale of Landis Grinding Systems, a longtime Waynesboro manufacturing mainstay, to a French corporation that made parts for the Eiffel Tower, will be a positive for all parties.

The hope is that things will work out for the best, L. Michael Ross said after officials at UNOVA Inc. of Everett, Wash., owner of Landis, announced the sale of the plant at 20 E. Sixth St. to Groupe Fives-Lille, an industrial engineering group headquarted in Paris.

The French company will pay UNOVA $70 million in cash, sign a $10 million, two-year note and assume post-retirement medical obligations and certain pension obligations for active employees, according to a news release.

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Landis Grinding Systems, formerly Landis Tool Co., for decades was one of Waynesboro's largest employers along with Landis Machine and Frick Co.

UNOVA anticipates no interruption to the Landis Grinding Systems' business, customer relationships or strategic direction while the transaction is being completed, the release said. It is expected to be wrapped up by the end of the year.

Groupe Fives-Lille designs, produces and sells equipment for the automotive, aluminum, steel and cement industries, the release said.

Mike Rock, Landis Grinding Systems spokesman, said Monday he could not comment on the sale or its impact on the local plant or its employees.

He declined to state the number of people in the work force.

A secretary for Kevin McCarty, UNOVA spokesman, said he would not be available for comment Monday.

The only hint that the sale could bode well for Waynesboro came in a paragraph in the release that states, "Although the ownership of Landis Grinding Systems will change, our people, our operations, our famous brands and our commitment to customer service will remain the same."

"It's hard to know what effect it (the sale) will have," Ross said. "I'd like to believe it will benefit the community. I have not spoken with the new owners, but with anything like this, it's too early to tell."

Ross said he hoped the sale of Landis will have the same effect as recent sales of the Frick Co. in Waynesboro and Grove Worldwide and Jerr-Dan Corp. in Antrim Township, "all of which have worked out."

"Landis Grinding Systems," the UNOVA release states, "is led by one of the most experienced management teams in the industry. The average tenure of the senior management team is 29 years. The management team has led the Company successfully through various industry cycles ... and a 20-year history of continuous profitability.

"The entire Landis staff, as well as our new partners at Fives-Lille, are dedicated to continuing the high level of service, integrity and product leadership that our customers have come to expect over more than 110 years," the release said.

According to a UNOVA Web site, the company said this year that it marked as discontinued its former Industrial Automation Systems division and is selling off its component companies. UNOVA is changing its name to Intermec Technologies Corp. effective Jan. 1, according to the Web site.

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