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German company acquires Halstead-based Legg Co.

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, July 4, 2013, at 12 a.m.

A German company has purchased longtime conveyor belt manufacturer Legg Co., 325 E. 10th St. in Halstead.

ContiTech, a division of international automotive supplier Continental, officially acquired Legg this week after several months of negotiations. The purchase price was not disclosed.

“It’s a perfect match,” said Jan Faerber, Legg‘s new president. “We’re definitely very proud of the knowledge of the company and great experience it will bring us.”

Legg has about 85 employees, said Steve Chartier, former Legg CEO and president.

“This is going to be a good thing for Halstead,” Chartier said. “We wouldn’t have even thought about doing it otherwise.”

Halstead, which is in Harvey County about 30 minutes northwest of Wichita, has a population of about 2,100 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“They wanted to buy us because of the quality reputation,” Chartier said. “We sell quality. They sell quality. We value employees. They value employees. … It’s been a good mix of putting the two together.”

Legg was founded in Halstead in 1939 and mainly specialized in making belts used in farming. In the 1990s, the company’s focus shifted to industrial and commodity belting.

The belts are distributed globally and used in such industries as logging, food processing, mining, construction, warehousing and agriculture, according to Legg’s website.

The Legg facility was expanded last year and is now more than 180,000 square feet, Chartier said.

Chartier said ContiTech had been researching Legg for two years. It sits on 14 acres of land, which was a selling point for ContiTech, he said.

“ContiTech was impressed with growth we’ve had,” Chartier said. “We have an increased market share with the different varieties of belting we do, which will add a lot of opportunities in new markets. … We’ve got that extra capacity that they’re wanting.”

Faerber said they have an aggressive plan for the company, including bringing in more equipment and jobs.

“We are here to grow and plan to invest in this company,” he said.

Christoph Seeger, managing director of ContiTech Conveyor Belt Group, said the U.S. is the second biggest conveyor belt market in the world after China.

“It’s always been a target of ours to have a footprint in the U.S., and Legg Company gives us a great opportunity to expand in the market here and move forward in order to gain market share in U.S. and Canadian markets,” he said.

Chartier, who said he’s been the head of management for about 22 years, is staying with the company as a vice president for the next six months to two years.

Ron Marler, who was vice president, will also remain with the company as a consultant during the transition, he said.

ContiTech has about 28,000 employees worldwide.

Reach Kelsey Ryan at 316-269-6752 or kryan@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @kelsey_ryan.

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