Hardinge Inc. Announces an Agreement to Acquire Forkardt Operations

ELMIRA, N.Y., May 9, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hardinge Inc. (Nasdaq:HDNG), a leading international provider of advanced metal-cutting solutions, announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Forkardt from Illinois Tool Works (NYSE:ITW) for $34 million in a negotiated transaction. The acquisition, which is expected to be completed today, will be funded with a combination of cash and debt. With well-established brands, Forkardt includes companies that are leading global providers of high-precision, specialty and customized workholding devices for machine tools. Its headquarters and U.S. operations are in Traverse City, Michigan. It also has operations in France, Germany, and Switzerland.

"Our acquisition of Forkardt will strengthen and expand our leadership position in specialty workholding solutions around the world," stated Richard L. Simons, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hardinge. "Our strategy is to diversify our product offerings in workholding, accessories and spare parts as a means of reducing the impact of the highly cyclical nature of machine tool sales. These products tend to be more stable despite economic cycles and typically also have higher margins. Historically, accessories and repair parts have averaged around 22% to 25% of our total revenue. On a pro-forma basis, we expect this product line to represent more than 30% of our business."

Forkardt was founded in Germany in 1923 by Paul Forkardt, as a manufacturer of chucks. In 2004, Forkardt merged with ITW Workholding, a North American manufacturer of workholding devices, and has become what Forkardt is today. The combined company evolved to be a global leader in innovation, design and manufacture of high precision, high quality, specialty and custom designed rotating workholding devices for machine tools. The legacy brands include: Forkardt, NA Woodworth, Buck Chuck, Sheffler Collet, and Logansport Cylinder.

Forkardt's revenue in 2012 was $47 million. Hardinge expects the acquisition to be accretive in 2013. Concurrent with the acquisition, William Sepanik, formerly Group General Manager of Forkardt, will be appointed Vice President – Forkardt and will report to Hardinge's President and CEO.

The design, manufacturing, sales and distribution of Forkardt's accessory products will be completely separate from Hardinge's machine tool manufacturing operations and sales. Mr. Simons noted, "We believe the separation of management and operations of Forkardt products from the manufacture and sales of machines ensures the segregation of focus and information flow as should be expected by the machine tool manufacturers who buy Forkardt products for use on their brands."

He concluded, "Global machine tool consumption is expected to expand by approximately 35% in the next four years driven by China's developing economy, according to the Oxford Economic Group. We are confident that our accessory products have an excellent opportunity to participate in that growth, where our workholding presence is minimal. We expect that through continued product innovation, quality products and timely deliveries, we can gain global market share for our products. We believe there will also be opportunities for other relatively small, add-on acquisitions that will be available from time-to-time to expand this product line."

Conference Call

The Company plans to discuss its financial results and the Forkardt acquisition on its conference call today at 11:00 am ET. The conference call can be accessed by calling (201) 689-8560. The listen-only audio webcast will be available at www.hardinge.com.

About Hardinge

Hardinge is a leading global designer and manufacturer of high precision, computer-controlled machine tool solutions developed for critical, hard to machine metal parts. The Company's strategy is to leverage its global brand strength to further penetrate global market opportunities where customers will benefit from the technologically advanced, high quality, reliable equipment Hardinge produces. With approximately 75% of its sales outside the U.S., Hardinge serves the worldwide metal working market. Hardinge's machine tool solutions can also be found in a broad base of industries to include aerospace, agricultural, automotive, construction, consumer products, defense, energy, medical, technology and transportation.

Hardinge applies its engineering design and manufacturing expertise in high performance machining centers, high-end cylindrical and jig grinding machines, SUPER-PRECISION® and precision CNC lathes and technologically advanced workholding accessories. Hardinge has manufacturing operations in China, France, Germany, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The Company regularly posts information on its website: http://www.hardinge.com

Safe Harbor Statement

This news release contains forward-looking statements (within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended). Such statements are based on management's current expectations that involve risks and uncertainties. Any statements that are not statements of historical fact or that are about future events may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. For example, words such as "may," "will," "should," "estimates," "predicts," "potential," "continue," "strategy," "believes," "anticipates," "plans," "expects," "intends," and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. The Company's actual results or outcomes and the timing of certain events may differ significantly from those discussed in any forward-looking statements. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

CONTACT: Company: Edward J. Gaio Chief Financial Officer Phone: (607) 378-4207 Investor Relations: Deborah K. Pawlowski, Kei Advisors LLC Phone: (716) 843-3908 Email: dpawlowski@keiadvisors.comSource:Hardinge Inc.