Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Met-Pro of Harleysville sold to CECO of Ohio

Another central Montco firm sold to a bigger out-of-state rival

Met-Pro of Harleysville sold to CECO of Ohio

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Officials of CECO Environmental, the Ohio-based company that has agreed to buy Harleysville-based pump-maker Met-Pro Corp. for $210 milion, or $13.75 a share, haven't said what they plan to do with Met-Pro's Harleysville office or its two local plants, which employ a total of 337 people.

"There is some redundancy" with other CECO plants, said analyst Gerard Sweeney, who covers water-industry stocks for Boenning & Scattergood in West Conshohocken. Jeff Lang, CECO's chief executive, "told us he was still deciding," Sweeney added. "I don't think the deal depends on cost saving." Sweeney says CECO is paying "a fair price." He said Met-Pro owns its facilities, which Ceco could end up selling to investors and leasing back. He said Ceco under Lang has done an effective job choosing profitable businesses to build and less-profitable lines to exit. Still, "there will be some bumps in the road," Sweeney predicted. He said the combined companies were likely to buy other environmental air products makers.

The sale is the latest blow to Harleysville's former reputation as a mini-corporate center. It follows the acquisition in recent years of Harleysville Insurance, by Nationwide Mutual, and of Harleysville National Bank, by First Niagara Bank. Harleysville Insurance's former chief executive, Michael Browne, who continues to run the business, says Nationwide has expanded the company's headquarters operations, which employ 900 in central Montgomery County. But First Niagara moved many bank operations to new offices in Plymouth Meeting. 

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PhillyDeals posts drafts, transcripts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area business, which he's been writing since 1989.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn and taught writing at St. Joseph's. He has written thousands of columns and articles for the Inquirer, Bloomberg and other media, wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

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Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

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