Update: As of December 12, 2016, GE has completed on execution of this deal, acquiring the 75% stake in Concept Laser, and additionally recently completed its tender offer for the shares of Arcam, purchasing 76.15% of the company. Mohammad Ehteshami, Vice President for Additive Integration at GE Additive, said of the deals:
“GE has made significant long-term commitments to both Arcam and Concept Laser to enhance their complementary technologies. Both companies are important players in the growing additive manufacturing movement, and are foundational to GE’s journey into this revolutionary manufacturing space.”
There’s been a lot of drama lately surrounding GE and their bid to take over the world of metal additive manufacturing by acquiring some of the biggest companies in the industry. Last month, the company made huge news with the announcement of their intention to acquire Arcam and SLM Solutions, two of the leading companies in the metal additive manufacturing industry. Last week, however, a wrench was thrown in that plan when SLM Solutions’ shareholders rejected GE’s terms, effectively shutting down the pending acquisition.
GE is still waiting on Arcam, having extended the offer until November 1, but as Elliot Management Corporation, the hedge fund that rejected the the SLM Solutions deal, also owns a significant stake in Arcam, there’s reason to be concerned that that deal may also fall through. However, it’s not all disappointment for GE, which has just announced that they’ve reached an agreement to acquire a 75% stake in Germany’s Concept Laser for €549 million ($599 million). The terms of the deal will allow GE to take full ownership in the company after a few years.
Based in Lichtenfels, Germany, with operations in the US and China as well, Concept Laser is responsible for the development of LaserCUSING metal 3D printing technology and the Mlab Cusing series of printers, among the fastest and highest-quality laser melting machines in the world. Their X line 2000R printer also holds the distinction of being the biggest metal 3D printer in the world. Founded in 2000, Concept Laser commercialized the world’s first metal additive manufacturing machine and has become an industry leader, with more than 35 distributors and agents across the world. The company’s focus is on the aerospace, medical and dental industries, with a significant customer base in the automotive and jewelry sectors as well.
“Concept Laser founder Frank Herzog and his team are true pioneers in metal laser melting technology,” said David Joyce, GE Vice Chairman and President & CEO of GE Aviation. “We are committed to enhancing Concept Laser’s technologies and product offerings across a well-established customer base.”
Herzog will continue to hold the position of CEO of Concept Laser, and will also take a senior leadership position at GE. GE plans to retain Concept Laser’s management and employees, and will invest in the company’s Lichtenfels headquarters, which will become a major German hub for GE. Concept Laser will also continue their partnership with fellow German company Hofmann Tool Manufacturing.
“GE shares our vision regarding the potential for additive manufacturing to lead the digital transformation of industrial production,” Herzog said. “We are delighted that together we will be able to accelerate development of the technology to the benefit of our customers. We have some exciting new product offerings due to come to market, including our innovative AM Factory of Tomorrow modular concepts, and with GE’s support we will be at the center of Industrie 4.0.”
Concept Laser’s technology is capable of printing with a wide range of metal powder materials including titanium, nickel-base, cobalt chromium and precious metal alloys, plus hot-work and high-grade steels and aluminum. The acquisition gives GE access to a much broader spectrum of industries within metal additive manufacturing, and certainly takes a good deal of the sting out of being rejected by SLM Solutions.
“Concept Laser machines are being used by leading manufacturers of medical, aerospace and dental components in series production as well as for prototyping and design,” said Herzog. “We are hitting an inflection point in demand as customers increasingly understand the possibilities that additive manufacturing presents and the technology advances to be able to turn these possibilities into reality. With GE’s broader investment into additive manufacturing, we believe that this process will only accelerate.”
Concept Laser will be at formnext in Frankfurt from November 15 to 18 (as will 3DPrint.com). At that time, they will announce the launch of a new machine architecture with fully modular technology, along with the associated AM Factory of Tomorrow. Discuss in the GE Concept Laser forum at 3DPB.com.