Currency titan Crane & Co., headquartered in Boston, is being sold for $800 million to a Connecticut company with a similar name. The company has strong ties to the Berkshires.
Crane Currency has manufactured paper money for the U.S. government since 1879, and has been the sole supplier since 1964. The currency is made at a plant in Dalton, just east of Pittsfield, where the company was founded. In 2012, Crane Currency moved its global headquarters to Boston.
Parent company Crane & Co. announced Tuesday it had agreed to sell the company for $800 million to a Stamford, Connecticut company with a similar name.
Max Mitchell tried to cut through the confusion on a conference call Wednesday morning:
“Both Cranes were founded in the 1800s, both by entrepreneurs, unrelated, but with the same last name who were visionaries in their time,” Mitchell says. “R.T. Crane for us in 1855 and Zenas Crane for Crane Currency in 1801.”
Crane Co. is currently in the business of bank note authentication, as well as other industries including fluid handling, aerospace electronics and engineering materials.
The two manufacturers have worked together in the past. Mitchell says the deal will allow Crane Co. to manufacture secure bank notes, and continue to work in the retail environment.
“By having these businesses work more closely together, we become more relevant to both of our sets of customers and are better able to understand and respond to changes in technology and in the industry as well as provide assurances to central banks around the world that future changes to currency design will ensure functionality and readability for daily cash transactions across the global currency payment landscape,” Mitchell says.
Dalton Town Manager Ken Walto says he’s hopeful the deal will translate into new jobs and opportunity for residents.
In 2015, Crane Currency split with what is now Crane Stationery.
“The private equity firm, which had a controlling interest, over the past 10 years or so has really been slimming the Crane down,” Walto says. “They have divested themselves of every papermaking asset that was not connected to currency production.”
The stationery wing continues to have a presence in North Adams.
Crane Currency CEO Stephen DeFalco told WAMC Wednesday to the best of his knowledge one of Berkshire County’s oldest and largest employers is here to stay.
“There is no overlap in operations at all,” DeFalco says, “so our Dalton team will remain intact and will continue to do what they do. And all of those jobs will be there, kind-of, going forward.”
Walto, the Dalton Town Manager, is watching closely.
“It requires highly-skilled employees and a lot of capital equipment – it’s not easy to move. And it becomes a political problem if the company wants to move somewhere,” Walto says. “I am sure Massachusetts’ elected representatives would have a lot to say about that.”
In 2013, the mill commissioned a new hydroelectric turbine. It was a 10-year, $1.5 million investment.
Doug Crane, then Vice President of Business Development and Government Relations, spoke to WAMC News about the project. He’s a seventh-generation ancestor of founder Zenas Crane.
“To revitalize and rebuild the hydroelectric capability here,” Crane said. “We are excited today to turn on the unit and sort of returning to our roots a little bit, letting the Housatonic [River] give us just a little bit more power.”
Crane Currency will report to Louis Pinkham, senior vice president at Crane Co., under the company’s Payment and Merchandising Technology division, according to DeFalco.
“At the closing I will be stepping down as CEO and I will be promoting my successor: Annemarie Watson,” DeFalco says.
Annemarie Watson currently runs Crane Currency International.
The deal is expected to close in February. Crane Co. says it will unveil more of its plans at Investor Day in March.