AM Investment Strategies
AMS Spring 2023

3D Systems Sells On Demand 3D Printing Business for $82M

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After more than a decade of providing the widest range of 3D printing services for on-demand manufacturing, 3D Systems (NYSE: DDD) will sell its service bureau business to private equity firm Trilantic North America for $82 million. The deal is part of 3D Systems’ strategy to focus on additive manufacturing (AM) solutions for growing markets that demand high-reliability applications, such as electric vehicles and spacecraft. As with other divestitures announced earlier this year, including the subtractive technology businesses Cimatron and GibbsCAM, the move is considered by the company’s management as an important step to strengthen its balance sheet, especially since proceeds from the sale will be reinvested in its core AM business to accelerate growth and profitability.

Commenting on the deal, 3D Systems’ President and CEO Jeffrey Graves said, “We are continuing to aggressively execute our four-phase plan that we announced a year ago, to position the company for exciting growth and profitability as the market for industrial-scale additive manufacturing continues to expand. The On-Demand Manufacturing business, with its focus on the rapid production of components using a multitude of digital manufacturing methods, is a solid business that has a very bright future under the stewardship of Trilantic North America.”

3D Systems facility. Image courtesy of 3D Systems

Rebranded as QuickParts post-closing, the new company will be led by Ziad Abou, a tenured industry pioneer, and veteran who held the role of Senior Vice President and General Manager of 3D Systems on-demand manufacturing business for nearly ten years. From the transaction, QuickParts will receive 3D Systems’ manufacturing facilities in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee; Seattle, Washington; Le Mans, France; Pinerolo, Italy; and High Wycombe, England, as well as more than 250 manufacturing and support professionals part of the service bureau business.

With an installed base of approximately 200 in-house 3D printers and a network of manufacturing partners worldwide, QuickParts is set to offer rapid prototyping, functional prototyping, low-volume manufacturing, and appearance model manufacturing services. The company will serve the growing demand for advanced, rapid turnaround manufacturing capabilities and additively manufactured services in several key industries, including aerospace, automotive, consumer, entertainment, and industrial products.

Graves confirmed that 3D Systems would continue to collaborate with QuickParts once the  the transaction is completed, which is expected to transpire sometime during the third quarter of 2021. While Trilantic North America Partner Charles Fleischmann said, the investment in QuickParts underscores Trilantic North America’s “commitment and belief” that industry 4.0 can provide increased sustainability, decreased production time and costs, and enhanced business digitalization throughout the supply chain.

Formerly known as Lehman Brothers Merchant Banking, New York-based Trilantic North America has a strong heritage of partnering with founder, family-owned businesses as well as providing growth capital to outstanding management teams. In this case, the company agreed to acquire the business from 3D Systems in partnership with Abou, hoping the move will drive continued expansion and increased customer success.

3D Systems Point of Care 3D Solutions. Image courtesy of 3D Systems.

At the start of 2021, Graves reflected on the company’s core mission as the main driving force behind its organizational alignment, which includes several divestitures, acquisitions, and expansions. He expressed a relentless focus on operational execution and a very optimistic future for 2021 and beyond, with a more strengthened financial position resulting from recent multi-million dollar deals like this one. As part of its growth strategy, 3D Systems announced earlier this month that the company is investing in a 50,000 square foot expansion of its presence in Littleton, Colorado, to expand its healthcare and industrial application development and advanced production capabilities.

Through this infrastructure investment, the company will add expertise and the most advanced metal AM technologies to address new, more complex industrial applications such as aerospace, automotive, semiconductor, and energy. The enhancements to the Littleton site will complement the work being done at 3D Systems’ other application development and advanced manufacturing sites in Rock Hill, South Carolina; Moerfelden, Germany; Budel, Netherlands; and Leuven, Belgium.

3D Systems acquired bioprinting startup Allevi. Image courtesy of Allevi.

Additionally, the company recently added metal 3D printing technology to its site in Leuven to support the work its application development and advanced manufacturing teams do for the semiconductor capital equipment, aerospace, defense, and automotive industries. 3D Systems also plans to add both plastics and metals technologies to its Rock Hill, South Carolina location, including the recently announced Roadrunner High-Speed Fusion 3D printing system.

Newly acquired startups Allevi and German software company Additive Works will also play an important role for 3D Systems moving forward. From leveraging the overall scale of the healthcare business to meet emerging regenerative application needs to enhance its software portfolio and innovation capacity, the company is really focusing its efforts on the heart of the business, enabling industrial-scale AM adoption across a range of exciting end markets.

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