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MCR and MSA to establish new entity
Jul '11
MSA of Pittsburgh, Pa., a leading global manufacturer of safety equipment for worker and facility protection, and MCR Safety of Memphis, Tenn., a global leader in gloves and safety garments, announced that they have established a joint venture to create a new operating company dedicated to the do-it-yourself and independent contractor market for safety products. The venture's newly established brand – Safety Works – combines MSA's leading line of respirators, hard hats and fall protection products with MCR's premium brands that include Memphis Gloves, Crews Eyewear and River City Garments. Retail versions of these products will be identified with the new Safety Works brand. The joint venture agreement is expected to formally close in September.

The new entity will have the full backing of both MCR and (Mine Safety Appliances Company) MSA, and creates the first full-line glove, garment and safety products company in the North American retail market. Under the terms of the agreement, MSA and MCR will jointly share ownership of Safety Works. This joint venture is exclusive to the retail divisions and will not impact their individual industrial division product lines. MSA's current Director of Corporate Development, Harry Kunze, who served as an early business director of MSA's consumer products business, will transition into a new role as President and CEO of Safety Works.

With nearly a 100-year history of serving the industrial, first responder and military markets, MSA entered the consumer products market in 1998 with the establishment of MSA Safety Works. Over the past 13 years, the retail arm of MSA has sold consumer versions of its products through many North American home center, hardware and rental market channels, including at such widely recognized retailers as The Home Depot, Do it Best and True Value. Additionally, MSA retail products are distributed to thousands of independent retailers by Orgill.

Likewise, MCR Safety has had success selling to major North American retailers including Sears, Kmart, Menards, Northern Tool and The Andersons. To date, these efforts have resulted in MSA and MCR Safety products being offered in more than 10,000 storefronts and being used by millions of North American consumers.

"I feel strongly that combining the resources of MCR Safety's Consumer Products team with the MSA Retail team makes sense for both MSA and MCR Safety," noted MCR Safety CEO Mitch Lewellen. "The glove and garment category is closely aligned with the safety category, and combining a full line of gloves, safety vests and rainwear with a full line of personal safety products in the retail market makes tremendous sense for both of our two companies and the retailers we serve."

"Our decision to partner with MCR Safety and establish a separate operating company dedicated to the retail market aligns very well with our corporate strategy," said William M. Lambert, MSA President and CEO. "A key element of our strategy is to grow MSA's business by focusing on our core product lines," he explained. "The addition of MCR's products to MSA's retail line adds important strength in the two leading product areas for the retail market—gloves and eyewear. Overall, this new venture will leverage the strengths of both organizations to create a full-line of the highest quality safety products available in the retail market," Mr. Lambert said.

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