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Thursday, Jun 30, 2022

Ducommun Buys Ammo Firm for $77M

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Santa Ana-based aerospace manufacturer Ducommun Inc., a manufacturer for the aerospace, defense, industrial, and other markets, has made its third acquisition under Chief Executive Stephen Oswald, and is on the lookout for more businesses to buy.

Ducommun this month paid $77 million for Nobles Worldwide, a St. Croix Falls, Wis.-based firm that specializes in devices for handling military ammunition.

“We have a long-term view and we’re certainly going to continue to look for businesses that make sense in the aerospace and defense space,” Oswald told the Business Journal.

That long-term view runs 170 years; Ducommun was established in 1849 and carries the distinction of being California’s oldest continuously running company.

The $460 million-valued company (NYSE: DCO) moved its headquarters from Los Angeles to Santa Ana in 2017.

Ducommun focuses in two core areas—electronic systems and structural systems—to produce products and components for commercial aircraft platforms, mission-critical military and space programs, and sophisticated industrial applications.

Aerospace, Defense ‘Journey’

Oswald, who took over as CEO in early 2017, said the “defense platform” makes up about half of the company’s revenue. The company’s net revenue last year totaled about $629 million.

“We’re on this journey in the aerospace and defense space here to continue to bring in highly engineered market-leading companies into Ducommun.”

Nobles specializes in the design and manufacture of high-performance ammunition handling systems for military aircraft, helicopters, ground vehicles, and shipboard systems.

It is currently the primary supplier of feed chutes—flexible devices used to supply ammunition to a gun—to most U.S. fighter-series aircraft and naval close-in weapon systems in the U.S.

“The acquisition expands our current footprint into another segment of the defense market, ammunition delivery and handling systems,” Oswald said when the deal was announced this month. 

Nobles President Will Wennberg said at the same time that his company’s “focus on the design, manufacturing, delivery and integration of ammunition handling systems for military land, air and sea platforms will complement Ducommun’s existing portfolio of engineered products for the defense industry.”

The two previous acquisitions under Oswald’s leadership at Ducommun were the holding company of Lightning Diversion Systems of Huntington Beach in September 2017, and Certified Thermoplastics Co. of Santa Clarita in April 2018.

Those two buys totaled about $90.5 million.

Kevin Costelloe
Kevin Costelloe
Tech reporter at Orange County Business Journal

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