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Eagle Electric to stay in LIC after pending sale

Eagle Electric Manufacturing Co., an 80-year-old company based in Long Island City, will be sold to a Houston company but plans to keep its Queens operations.

Cooper Industries, an electrical products concern based in Houston, announced earlier this month that it intends to buy Eagle Electric. Cooper would not disclose exactly how much it will pay for Eagle, which had revenue of $187 million in 1999.

"Eagle Electric is an excellent strategic addition to Cooper," said John Riley, president and chief executive officer of Cooper Industries.

Founded in 1920 as a manufacturer of iron plugs, the company employs more than 2,000 people in New York City, South Carolina and Toronto. About 1,500 of its employees work in Queens, and its headquarters are located at 45-31 Court Square in Long Island City.

"I am not aware of any changes in Queens," said John Breed, Cooper Industries spokesman. "I don't know of any plans to reduce the head count."

Cooper would not disclose the exact purchase price, but the company will be paying less than a dollar for every dollar of revenue Eagle generated last year at $187 million, Breed said. The deal still needs final regulatory approval, and the two companies expect the acquisition to be complete by March or April.

Neal Kluger, Eagle Electric's president, will remain with Cooper, but other management may choose to leave, Breed said.

"It's not unusual that some may choose to move on," Breed said. "But there will be a number that are going to choose to stay on."

Eagle Electric will become the sixth division in Cooper's electrical products segment, but the two companies do not produce the same types of electrical equipment.

Cooper's fuses, lights and other products are aimed primarily at industrial users, while Eagle Electric switches and lights can be found at retail home improvement centers, Breed said.

By buying Eagle Electric, Cooper hopes to gain entry to the booming home-improvement segment of consumers.

"We don't have access today to those markets," Breed said.

The acquisition is part of a broader expansion for Cooper, which has bought about 10 companies over the last year, adding $300 million in revenue to the company. Eagle Electric is one of the largest single acquisitions, contributing $187 million in revenue to Cooper's books.

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