Kennametal Sells Advanced Material Technologies Stake to Abakan

March 28, 2011
Powdermet develops energy-management materials and composites.

Abakan Inc., a publicly traded holding company for emerging technology companies, has acquired a 40.97% stake in Powdermet Inc. from Kennametal Inc., the cutting tool and surfacing material developer. The acquisition involved a total payment of $1.7 million. Abakan explained that it used the proceeds of a recent stock offering, which has earned almost $2 million of a projected $3.2 million.

Abakan describes itself as an investor in companies “that have developed transformational technologies on the cusp of commercialization.”

Kennametal calls itself a provider of “innovative custom and standard wear-resistant solutions,” involving advanced materials sciences and applications. Other than machining operations, its customers include aerospace and engine manufacturers, mining operations, and oil-and-gas drilling operations.

Powdermet is in the process of transitioning from an engineered nanopowder R&D lab into a commercial sector company that develops “metal formulations” and supplies “advanced ‘energy management’ solutions” for transportation, infrastructure, and ballistic management markets, among others.

According to Powdermet president and CEO Andrew Sherman, “We have been working with government agencies including NASA, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense for several years developing some very advanced breakthrough material technologies and believe we are now ready to join with Abakan as the financial partner we require to realize the commercialization of our efforts.”

Powdermet is focused on four product lines with commercial potential, including: a family of syntactic metal composites called SComP, which are lightweight and able to absorb 500% more impact energy than current best-practice impact and ballistic materials, like aluminum alloys; MComP, a family of nanocomposite metal and metal matrix composites designed as a replacement for beryllium, aluminum, and magnesium in structural applications; EnComP, a family of engineered microstructure energy-based products; and a family of structurally insulating syntactic ceramic composites called SynFoam that combine strength, high-temperature functionality and low-thermal conductivity in one material.

Abakan already holds a direct and indirect 61.04% interest, with the contractual right to acquire up to 85.24%, of MesoCoat Inc., a subsidiary of Powdermet that develops advanced coating solutions for base metals and ceramics. While Powdermet is focused on metal formulations and energy-management solutions, MesoCoat develops advanced coating solutions.

Robert Miller, president and CEO of Abakan, stated: “We are very impressed with the progress Powdermet has made in metal formulations and energy-management applications since our involvement with MesoCoat, and are committed to raising the new capital Powdermet will require to commercialize products that will reflect significant technological advances in their respective fields.”

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