A Maine investment firm has acquired Elmet Technologies, one of Lewiston’s largest private employers.

Anania & Associates Investment Co. of Portland partnered with a group of existing Elmet managers to buy the company from New Hampshire-based Liberty Lane Partners. The Maine Technology Institute and the Finance Authority of Maine were also involved in the transaction.

Elmet Technologies is a high-tech manufacturer of components made from molybdenum and tungsten that have applications in numerous products, including semiconductors, LED lights, medical imaging devices, military munitions and aerospace components. The company was founded in 1929 and originally manufactured filaments for light bulbs. For many years, it was part of Philips Lighting Co.

Given the company’s manufacturing expertise and unique market niche, the acquisition made sense for Anania & Associates, according to Scott Knoll, a partner and vice president at the Portland-based firm. Anania & Associates owns and operates several Maine manufacturers, including Boothbay-based Biovation, which makes high-tech fiber material, and Mega Industries in Gorham, which manufactures microwave transmission equipment used in such eclectic markets as particle accelerators and air traffic control systems.

Knoll said the global market for molybdenum and tungsten exceeds $1 billion a year. He said Elmet is one of the top three producers and “is known for high-end customer service.” Because the company is relatively small compared to the size of the market, Knoll sees good growth potential.

“The business is growing, it’s unique,” Knoll said. “There’s only a handful of companies that are fully integrated producers of these two elemental metals.”

The deal closed Friday evening, according to Knoll. Details of the transaction are not being disclosed. However, Knoll confirmed that Anania & Associates is the largest shareholder, followed closely by a group of seven existing company managers led by Andrew Nichols, who was the company’s president and has now assumed the CEO title. MTI invested $1 million in equity, Knoll said, but he would not disclose what FAME contributed to the deal.

Besides the 220,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Lewiston, the acquisition also includes facilities in Seattle, Covington, Georgia; and Chengdu, China.

In the week before the sale closed, the company laid off 33 hourly and salaried employees, according to the Sun Journal in Lewiston. Knoll declined to comment on the Sun Journal report.

He said the company has about 300 employees worldwide and that between 175 and 200 of them are based in Lewiston.

Nichols, the company’s CEO, said the acquisition would set Elmet up for continued growth because of the experienced and “forward-thinking” new local ownership.

“There are so many positives that come with this transaction.” Nichols said in a statement.

Knoll agreed, adding that Anania & Associates is “in this for the long term.”

“It’s a great Lewiston employer,” Knoll said.

“There’s a lot of knowledge up there and great employees, so the strategy is to focus back on that and continue to grow the business.”

Whit Richardson can be contacted at 791-6463 or at:

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