Crane Co. said that its English subsidiary, Crane Limited, has purchased the pipe coupling and fittings businesses from Etex Group S.A., including the Victaulic, Viking Johnson, Helden and Wask branded products, for a purchase price of 17.3 million pounds sterling in cash and assumed debt. The transaction includes the purchase of business assets in the United Kingdom related to Victaulic, Viking Johnson and Wask brands, and associated shares of GPS Couplings BV (Netherlands).

These businesses provide pipe joining and repair solutions to the water, gas and industrial markets worldwide. Products include: grooved pipe systems, pipeline couplings and transition fittings and pipeline equipment. Significant customers include water utilities and gas transmission companies, and large European contractors and distributors.

The 2002 annual sales for these businesses were approximately 36 million pounds with about 33% sold outside of the United Kingdom. The businesses will be integrated into Crane Limited, a leading provider of PVF to the building and construction and industrial markets in the United Kingdom and Europe.

"This strategic acquisition extends Crane's market reach into the gas and water markets with strong brands, and expands our product range with complementary products for Crane Limited operating within our Fluid Handling segment," said Eric Fast, president and CEO of Crane Co. "In addition to creating additional operating leverage in our UK facilities, it opens new channel opportunities for existing and acquired products and further enhances our position as a solution supplier within fluid handling in Europe and other world markets."