Veri-Tek Completes Acquisition of Noble

Bridgeview, Ill.-based Veri-Tek International Corp., a leading North American manufacturer of engineered lifting equipment, has completed the acquisition of the Noble Rough-Terrain Forklift business from GT Distribution, effective July 31, 2007, according to a company press release issued over PR Newswire.

"We are very pleased to add the Noble Rough-Terrain Forklift business to our line of specialized lifting equipment," said David Langevin, chairman and CEO of Veri-Tek International. "The Noble product line was originally designed and marketed by Caterpillar in 1983, and was subsequently marketed through Eagle Pitcher's dealer network. Noble has a reputation for providing durable, innovative and high quality products, and as a result, the Noble product has benefited from very strong distribution, and has a large installed base giving rise to a healthy after-market parts business. Moreover, this acquisition will benefit from our current operating manufacturing base and adds breadth to our existing Liftking rough-terrain forklift product line without increasing our existing facilities or manpower. Our sales and marketing team is excited about the opportunity to offer an expanded high quality rough terrain product line to our customers, while also gaining access for all our products to Noble's established dealer network."

Andrew Rooke, president and chief operating officer, said that Noble is an excellent strategic fit for the company. “Noble is a time-tested, valuable brand with a loyal customer base,” he said. “The Noble business has historically generated operating margins similar to those of our Liftking subsidiary on sales volumes of about $20 million, but in recent times, as a result of changing facilities and ownership, this company has not kept up with the demand for its products. However, it has retained its most valuable assets, its distribution and reputation for quality products. We believe that we are uniquely positioned to, in a reasonable time, restore this business to its historic performance and thereby enhance Veri-Tek's performance overall."

As consideration for the assets of the Noble business, Veri-Tek will release GT Distribution from its pre-existing debt to Veri-Tek in the amount $4.2 million.