GE in 3D printing push raises Arcam bid, to buy Concept Laser

STOCKHOLM/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - General Electric GE.N raised its bid for Swedish 3D printer maker Arcam ARCM.ST on Thursday and said it had agreed to buy privately held German 3D printing firm Concept Laser.

The logo of Dow Jones Industrial Average stock market index listed company General Electric is shown at their subsidiary company GE Aviation in Santa Ana, California April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

A day earlier GE abandoned its bid for 3D printing firm SLM Solutions AM3D.DE after activist investor Elliott Advisors, which owns 20 percent of SLM, rejected its bid.

“We have taken further steps to pursue Arcam ownership as we advance our additive strategy,” GE Aviation chief David Joyce said in a statement.

“We are delighted to achieve the strategic cornerstone in our additive strategy by announcing today our acquisition of Concept Laser.”

Arcam, Concept Laser and SLM, are three of the world’s top makers of machines for metals-based 3D printing.

GE and its competitors have begun to invest seriously in 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, which produces parts with less work than traditional production methods, generates less scrap material and expands design possibilities.

Use of the technology has become more widespread for industrial mass production in recent years, with uses ranging from the production of dental crowns and medical implants to aircraft parts.

GE raised its recommended bid for Arcam to 300 crowns per share from 285 crowns, valuing the Swedish 3D printer maker at 6.2 billion crowns ($696 million). It also lowered the minimum acceptance threshold for the offer to 75 percent.

GE, one of Arcam’s largest customers, said it controlled 46 percent of Arcam shares. Elliott owns around 10 percent of Arcam according to a disclosure notice issued this month.

The U.S. industrial conglomerate is buying a 75 percent stake in Concept Laser for 549 million euro ($599 million) in a deal that will allow GE to take full ownership in a number of years.

Concept Laser’s customer base is focused on the aerospace, medical and dental industries, while Arcam’s primary focus is on aerospace and medical implants.

Arcam shares were up 8.7 percent in Stockholm to match the bid level as of 0806 GMT (4:06 a.m. ET), while SLM shares fell 13 percent in Frankfurt.

Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom and Georgina Prodhan; editing by Niklas Pollard and Jason Neely