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Crane Buys Bill-Machine Maker MEI Conlux for $820 Million

Crane Co., the maker of plane parts, pumps and composite materials, agreed to buy MEI Conlux Holdings (U.S.) Inc. for about $820 million to add machines for handling bank notes.

Crane will buy the company and its Japanese affiliate from Bain Capital Partners LLC and Advantage Partners LLP, according to a statement late yesterday. The price, which is on a cash and debt-free basis, is 9.6 times MEI’s estimated earnings for this year, it said.

The deal will boost earnings by about 25 cents a share within the first year and by 30 cents on a pretax basis by 2015, Crane said. The Stamford, Connecticut-based company has expanded its payment-solutions business through three acquisitions since 2006. MEI’s products include bill validators used in slot machines.

Crane will fund the deal using cash and additional debt. It expects to complete the transaction in the second quarter of 2013, according to the statement.

The company reiterated that earnings this year will probably be in the lower half of its previously announced forecast range of $3.75 to $3.85 per share, excluding special items.

Its preliminary forecast for next year includes “core” sales growth of as much as 4 percent, and earnings per share of $4.05 to $4.20.

MEI, which was founded by Mars Inc. in 1969, bought Japan-based Conlux in 2003, according to the statement. Bain and Advantage bought the group in 2006, it said. Terms weren’t disclosed in the April 2006 statement announcing the deal.

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