Charles Machine Works Acquires American Augers, Trencor

By Robert Carpenter, Editor | November 2012, Vol. 67, No. 11

UPDATED: The Charles Machine Works (CMW), Perry, OK, has continued its aggressive underground industry expansion efforts with the pending purchase of American Augers and Trencor from Astec Underground, Loudon, TN, a subsidiary of Astec Industries Inc., Chattanooga, TN. The two companies entered into a formal agreement on Oct. 31, for a cash purchase price of $55 million. Both companies expect the sale to be completed by Dec. 31.

Not included in the sale are the American Augers’ vertical oil and gas drilling rig product line and the four-track surface miner product line manufactured at Astec Underground. The vertical oil and gas drill rig product line will be relocated to GEFCO Inc., a subsidiary of Astec Industries Inc. in Enid, OK. Astec will also continue to manufacture and expand the surface miner product line at its Astec Underground facility. The total revenues of the sold business unit and product line were $42 million for the nine months ending Sept. 30.

“This acquisition strengthens the competitive stance of The Charles Machine Works Inc. in the underground market,” said Tiffany Sewell-Howard, CMW chief executive officer. “The American Augers and Trencor product lines provide entry into markets and channels in which CMW chooses to compete.”

CMW is known for its Ditch Witch product line of small-to-medium horizontal directional drilling rigs (from 5,000 to 100,000 pounds of pullback force), walk-behind and rubber-tire trenchers and plows, underground electronics, vacuum excavators and compact utility equipment. The company also manufactures Subsite locating equipment which operates as a separate division within the company.

For the past two years, CMW has been pursuing a more comprehensive industry footprint with the purchase of Earth Tool Company’s Hammerhead Trenchless Equipment and Radius HDD. HammerHead instantly put CMW into a highly competitive position with piercing tools and pipe bursting equipment while Radius dramatically expanded their market share and product offerings for HDD tools. Both are managed as separate operating divisions of CMW and the company indicated that American Augers and Trencor will also operate as separate entities “yet leverage the synergies of the entire CMW family of companies,” Sewell-Howard said.

J. Don Brock, chairman of the board and CEO of Astec, said, "We acquired the Trencor operation in 1998 and American Augers in 1999. These businesses have been very cyclical through the years.