General Electric Spending $3.3 Billion to Buy Lufkin Industries

Andrew Klips  |

Conglomerate giant General Electric Co. (GE) reported Monday that it is continuing to expand its assets in the energy business through the purchase of Lufkin Industries, Inc. (LUFK), a Texas-based oilfield services company. GE said that it will pay $88.50 per share to stakeholders in Lufkin, valuing the all-cash deal at about $3.3 billion. The offer is a 38 percent premium to Lufkin’s closing price on Friday of $63.93.

Lufkin’s all-time high share price was $95.55, hit in April 2011.

Lufkin has been in business since 1902, when it originally made equipment for railroads and sawmills, but has since transformed into a manufacturer of industrial gears as well as pumps and lifts for extracting oil and gas from difficult-to-reach reservoirs.

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The acquisition is the latest in a string of moves by GE to divest from media and finance and expand in the oil and gas business. In February, GE unloaded its remaining 49 percent take in NBC Universal to joint venture partner Comcast (CMCSA) for $16.7 billion. In the past six years, GE has dished-out about $11 billion for acquisition in the energy industry, which now contributes about 10 percent to its annual revenue.

Artificial lift, a process of using external devices to assist in bringing hydrocarbons to the surface and improve the efficiency of naturally flowing wells, is used in 94 percent of the roughly 1 million oil-producing wells around the world. The acquisition will expand GE’s artificial lift portfolio, which now consists only of electric submersible pumps, to give it a complete industry package.

“Advanced technologies, combined with new drilling practices, are revolutionizing the oil and gas industry. The artificial lift segment is at the heart of critical changes that are helping producers maximize well potential–which translates into increased output at lower operational cost,” said Daniel C. Heintzelman, president and CEO, GE Oil & Gas, in a corporate statement today.

In 2012, Lufkin generated $1.2 billion in sales (up 37% from 2011) and earned $81.9 million, or $2.45 per share. New bookings increased 38 percent in 2012 over 2011 to $1.3 billion in the artificial lift business as the company benefited from ever-increasing oil and gas production in the United States.

Shares of Lufkin are holding near the offer price in early Monday trading, while shares of GE have stumbled about 1 percent lower.

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