InterTech ups ante on Canadian gauge maker

The investment arm of The InterTech Group Inc. has added to its stake in a Canadian maker of gauges and other industrial instruments, a stock that’s been punished of late by falling oil prices.

A private trust run by CEO Anita Zucker said it has acquired another 469,400 shares of Titan Logix Corp. for about $200,000 in U.S. currency.

The purchase lifts North Charleston-based InterTech’s holdings in the business to almost 20 percent, up from about 13 percent last summer, when it first disclosed the investment.

The trust said in a written statement that it added to its holdings “for investment purposes” and that it “may acquire additional shares ... subject to price and availability.”

The stock has fallen sharply over the past few months, to about 41 cents a share. InterTech’s stake was valued at about $2 million on Wednesday.

Titan Logix recetnly reported a 69 percent drop in sales and a modest loss for its fiscal first quarter.

“The dramatic slowdown in crude oil trailer manufacturing as a result of the collapse in the price of oil continues to negatively impact Titan as we reflect a material decrease in revenue over last year,” CEO Greg McGillis said in a Jan. 13 statement. ”We continue to face challenging times. The price of oil is not expected to return to previous levels any time soon, which means ongoing lower levels of oilfield activity. Titan continues our focus on controlling operating costs wherever possible to mitigate the impacts of the downturn.”

Founded in 1979, the Edmonton, Alberta-based company develops and manufactures gauges, meters and other measuring instruments for industries that handle fluids, including oil companies, waste collectors and chemical makers.

InterTech has said it began buying the stock because it was inexpensive and because Titan Logix had plenty of cash on its debt-free balance sheet.

Contact John McDermott at 843-937-5572.