One of the Charleston region's largest woman-owned businesses has been sold to a larger Michigan company in a deal valued at more than $32 million.
Hanahan-based defense contractor UEC Electronics LLC is now owned by Arotech Corp., which said it won't be making any major changes at the Howard Street company.
The sale was announced Tuesday. It included $28 million in cash and stock worth about $4.2 million based on Arotech's closing price Tuesday. The sellers of UEC could receive an additional $5.5 million in payments if the company hits certain profit targets by the end of 2015.
The Berkeley County company has about 200 employees who develop and make electronic parts and other high-tech components primarily for military, aerospace and industrial customers.
It works with the Marine Corps Systems Command and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, among other federal agencies, as well as large defense contractors including Boeing Co., Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems.
Rebecca Ufkes, president of UEC who co-owned the 17-year-old business with husband Philip, described the sale as "a logical progression to support UEC's strong organic growth."
"This strategic alignment will provide UEC with access to capital required to scale our existing infrastructure for larger programs and requirements, as well as to increase distribution channels for UEC ... products," she said in a statement. "Arotech is an innovative and agile corporation with a strong technical team and an unwavering commitment to engineering development and manufacturing excellence. Our company visions and cultures are very much aligned and create a model for collaboration and success."
UEC reported revenue of $32.4 million last year and profits of nearly $5 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Arotech's revenue totaled $88.6 million for 2013, when it made about $2.2 million.
The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based buyer is folding UEC into its battery and power systems division.
The Ufkes will remain with the company as will all other workers at the Hanahan location off Yeamans Hall Road, said Arotech CEO Robert Ehrlich.
"We've been down there several times, and we really like what we got there," Ehrlich said Tuesday. "We're making no changes other than to encourage them to keep building the business. ... Our philosophy of making acquisitions is we try to be as low-profile and non-interfering as possible."
Contact John McDermott at 937-5572.
In late 2011, UEC production workers were making control apparatus for solar- and battery-powered communications equipment for use by soldiers in Afghanistan.×
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