Manufacturing firm ExOne plans IPO


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ExOne, a North Huntingdon manufacturing company that relies on technology some speculate will fuel the next industrial revolution, has filed plans to raise up to $75 million through a public offering of an undisclosed number of shares.

Documents the company filed Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission indicate ExOne will use the proceeds to expand its capacity and capabilities, pay off a $9.6 million line of credit it has with its majority stockholder and repurchase production equipment it leases from two related entities for $3 million.

No information was provided about how the shares will be priced. The IPO is being managed by FBR Capital Markets.

The filing indicates ExOne lost $11.1 million in the first nine months of last year on revenue of $15.9 million. ExOne said 30 percent of its revenue for the nine-month period came from the Americas, 34 percent from Europe and 29 percent from Asia.

The company lost $8 million in 2011 on revenue of $15.3 million.

ExOne is one of a growing number of companies that rely on 3-D printing to make complex parts using digital imaging. Its customers include Boeing, Ford Motor, BMW, Caterpillar and Deere & Co.

The company said it has 155 employees, including 126 full time, who work at facilities in North Huntingdon; Troy, Mich.; Houston; Germany; and Japan. ExOne said it hopes to establish 10 more locations by the end of 2015.

So-called 3-D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, involves slicing digital images of industrial pumps, automotive equipment and other products into hundreds or thousands of layers the width of a human hair. That data is sent to a 3-D printer similar to an inkjet printer.

But instead of ink, the printer emits alternating layers of sand and powdered materials into a box, where a liquid binder holds the layers together, resulting in a physical version of the digital image.

The technology eliminates weeks of bending, molding, punching, grinding and machining parts that must then be assembled into a finished product. Advocates say 3-D printing will revolutionize industry by bringing more manufacturing back to the United States.

ExOne currently makes products out of ceramic, stainless steel, bronze and glass. The filing stated proceeds from the offering will help it move into titanium, aluminum, tungsten carbide and other materials.

ExOne grew out of Extrude Hone Corp. and was acquired for $7.2 million in 2007 by S. Kent Rockwell, ExOne's chairman and majority shareholder. Mr. Rockwell and other owners have invested another $40.7 million in equity and debt since then, the document states.

Mr. Rockwell is the son of industrialist Willard F. Rockwell. He is a former director of Rockwell International and was chairman and CEO of Astrotech International, a Pittsburgh company that made above-ground storage tanks for the energy industry and other customers.

The filing indicates Mr. Rockwell will sell an undisclosed number of his shares as part of the offering.

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Len Boselovic: lboselovic@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1941.


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