Leatherman Tool Group, Inc. Acquires German Flashlight Manufacturer, LED Lenser
April 2011 News
Portland, OR, April 5 2011 – Today Leatherman Tool Group, Inc. signed a definitive contract to acquire a majority interest in Zweibrüder Optoelectronics GmbH & Co. KB (Solingen, Germany), the manufacturer of LED Lenser flashlights. Founders and brothers, Rainer and Harald Opolka will remain in partnership with Leatherman as minority shareholders in Zweibrüder Optoelectronics. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Founded in 1994, LED Lenser revolutionized the flashlight market with cutting-edge innovation and precise German engineering. With more than 1000 employees worldwide, the company is now one of the world’s leading flashlight manufacturers. LED Lenser lights use only the brightest, highest-quality LEDs and patented optical, electronic, and manufacturing systems, They are built to withstand the rigorous demands of military, law enforcement, rescue, backcountry and industrial applications.
The light market has experienced strong growth since 2006. Proven performance, cost-savings and significant functional advantages over traditional incandescent technology have fueled the adaptation of LED technology by mainstream users. Robust 2010 projected growth for the lighting industry is estimated at 35%.
Jake Nichol – current CEO of Leatherman – will head up both Leatherman Tool Group, Inc. parent company to LED Lenser and Leatherman. „Partnership with with one of the world’s leading flashlights brands supports our strategy of expanding into adjacent markets with an emphasis on innovation and precision engineering,“ says Nichol. „By combining Leatherman’s advanced manufacturing capabilities with LED Lenser’s innovation and product ideation process, the entire team becomes that much more agile and our business practices that much stronger.“
Rakesh Sridharan, formerly Vice President of Operations at Leatherman, has been appointed President of LED Lenser and will be a Managing Director of Zweibrüder Optoelectronics (sales and marketing for LED Lenser) in Solingen, Germany. Sven Objartel, already head of operations in Germany, will become a Managing Director of Zweibrüder Optoelectronics. The current German management team will remain in place and Rainer Opolka will stay active in the business, primarily in product development and marketing.
Leatherman Tool Group is dedicated to keeping product development and manufacturing of Leatherman-branded products in Portland, Oregon. Likewise, LED Lenser will continue to operate their existing German design and Asian manufacturing facilities and sell their products under the LED Lenser brand.
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