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Wisconsin company buys Wells, Dura-Bar

WOODSTOCK – A Wisconsin company has purchased Woodstock-based Wells Manufacturing Co. and its subsidiaries.

Charter Manufacturing Co., based in Mequon, Wis., acquired Dura-Bar and Dura-Bar Metal Services as part of its stock purchase of Wells Manufacturing, according to a news release from Charter Manufacturing.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Wells Manufacturing, a third-generation family-owned company, has about 360 employees at its facilities in Woodstock, York, Pa., Salisbury, N.C., and Changzhou, China. Dura-Bar is the world's largest producer of continuous cast iron bars. Dura-Bar Metal Services is the leading supplier of Dura-Bar and a distributor of bronze alloys to customers in various industries.

No employment or staffing changes were expected, Charter Chairman and CEO John Mellowes said in a statement.

“Dura-Bar and Wells Manufacturing Company make an excellent match for Charter Manufacturing,” Mellowes said. “For Charter, the acquisition of Dura-Bar and Dura-Bar Metal Services allows our organization to diversify and extend our reach into new markets. The acquisition complements our continuing, strong focus on the automotive sector, and while that will always be important to Charter, this acquisition extends our reach into the capital goods market.”

The deal also will benefit Dura-Bar, said Thomas Wells, chairman, president and CEO of Wells Manufacturing Co.

"This acquisition strengthens Dura-Bar’s future and enhances its ability to grow nationally and internationally for the long term,” he said in a statement. “Both Charter and Wells share similar value structures and a work culture that will allow the organization to be the most competitive cast iron bar enterprise in the world."

Wells, the third-generation of his family to run the company, "will play an active role on the transition team," according to the statement.

Wells Manufacturing, one of the largest employers in McHenry County, is the parent company of Dura-Bar and Dura-Bar Metal Services in Woodstock and Duro-Life in Algonquin.

Dura-Bar’s plant began operations in Woodstock in 1976, and Dura-Bar Metal Services – originally called Midwest Alloys – moved next to the plant in 1982. In 1988, Wells bought Duro-Life and moved the operations from Melrose Park to Algonquin. In 1995, Wells built a new corporate headquarters in Woodstock and moved the last of its operations from Skokie.

The purchase includes all of Wells' assets, said Evan Zeppos, a spokesman for Charter Manufacturing.

The Charter Manufacturing family of companies includes Charter Steel, Charter Wire, and Charter Automotive. Charter Manufacturing employs about 1,500 people and has operations in Milwaukee, Cuyahoga Heights and Fostoria, Ohio, Lichfield, U.K., and Wuhu, China.

"Charter shares our commitment to people and a focus on being an invaluable resource to customers,” Wells said. “The two companies are extremely compatible, and both have strong track records as high-quality, committed family-owned businesses. We anticipate a long and successful future."

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