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Crane's owner planning to split business; currency firm will become separate entity

Crane Currency Photo

The Connecticut-based company that purchased Crane Currency four years ago announced Wednesday that it plans to make the Dalton firm part of a separate publicly traded entity known as Crane NXT. 

DALTON — The Connecticut-based company that purchased Crane Currency four years ago is planning to operate the business as a separate, independent, publicly traded entity.

The firm’s board of directors announced Wednesday that it has unanimously approved a plan that would allow the Dalton-based currency business to operate as part of a “payment and merchandising technologies” firm called Crane NXT.

The rest of the company will continue to be known as Crane Co. and contain the firm’s aerospace and electronics and process flow technologies businesses. Payment and merchandising technologies is one of the entire Crane Co.’s two divisions.

Crane Co., a diversified manufacturer of highly engineered industrial products located in Stamford, Conn., purchased Crane Currency for $800 million in January 2018. The two companies share the Crane name, but are not related.

The official separation into two firms is expected to be completed in March 2023, exactly 12 months from Wednesday’s announcement, according to Crane Co. It is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and final approval by the board of directors. The plan does not require shareholder approval.

When the separation is finalized, Crane NXT’s shares are expected to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “NXT.” Crane Co. shares will continue to be listed under the firm’s current ticker symbol, “CR.”

The separation plan will have no effect on Crane’s currency operation in Dalton, which is one of Berkshire County’s largest employers, according to Ross Lovern, a principal at Kekst CNC in New York City.

“It will enable Crane NXT, which includes the currency division, to make investments in their current location and really encourage further growth at the company,” Lovern said.

Founded in 1801, Crane’s currency division has supplied currency paper to the federal government since 1879 and has been its sole supplier since 1964. It also operates a plant in Sweden, and produces currency paper for several other countries.

Lovern declined to say how many employees Crane currently has in Dalton, except to say the workforce is “still very close” to the 350 workers the currency division had when it was sold in 2018.

“Overall it’s a very positive announcement for Crane Currency and for the Dalton facility as part of that,” Lovern said.

According to a news release, Crane Co.’s board of directors decided to separate the businesses into two separate independent companies to optimize investment and capital allocation, accelerate growth and “unlock shareholder value.”

On its own, Crane NXT is expected to achieve $1.4 billion in sales with a pre-corporate earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization margin of 28 percent, according to Crane Co. EBITDA is a measure of a company’s overall financial performance and can be used as an alternative to net income in some cases.

Separating Crane Co. into two separate entities will make them both more attractive to investors than if the firm had remained as a single unit, Lovern said.

“First of all, investors now look for more streamlined focused businesses,” he said. “So the feeling was that Crane Co. was not being properly valued because it was a mix of different businesses that have different valuation profiles.

“A higher growth company’s value has more value than a lower growth company,” he said. “Now that Crane Currency is fully integrated and is doing very well, the feeling was let the market decide the growth potential of those businesses as well as it should.”

Both businesses have also now reached the point where they can stand on their own.

“There’s not as much value together, and there are more opportunities,” Lovern said.

Crane Currency was once part of a larger firm known as Crane & Co. and later as Crane that also operated technical materials and stationery divisions. Crane & Co. sold its technical materials division to Neenah Paper Co. of Georgia in 2014.

Crane Stationery, whose origins dated back to the company’s founding, was sold to a group of former employees in 2015 so that what remained of the firm could concentrate on its more lucrative currency business.

Still known as Crane Stationery, the business was then sold to Mohawk Fine Papers of Cohoes, N.Y., in April 2018. Mohawk originally said that it planned to keep the business in the Berkshires, but three months after laying off 85 percent of the firm’s then 229-member local workforce in June 2020, it closed the company’s North Adams plant and moved the entire operation back to New York state.

Tony Dobrowolski can be reached at tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6224.

Business writer

Tony Dobrowolski's main focus is on business reporting. He came to The Eagle in 1992 after previously working for newspapers in Connecticut and Montreal. He can be reached at tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6224.

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