In October 2022, the Hultafors Group acquired Martinez Tool Co, a USA brand best known for their customizable titanium hammers.
Hultafors has a number of tool brands in their corporate portfolio, such as Johnson Level and CLC. The Hultafors Group is owned by an investment company, Investment AB Latour, that is based in Sweden.
The President of the Hultafors Group North America says:
Our intention is to build on this strong heritage and continue to operate Martinez Tool Co as a separate brand in our existing portfolio.
The company has explained their reasoning for the acquisition:
The acquisition is part of Hultafors Group’s strategy to broaden our product portfolio with innovative brands for professional end users and has high strategic importance as it can help us to further penetrate the US market with an attractive Made in the USA premium brand.
Martinez Tool Co had $6 million in revenue 2021 with high double-digit growth and a profitability above Hultafors Group.
Mark Martinez, the owner and face of the tool brand, provided a statement via press materials:
I see Hultafors Group as the perfect long-term owner for Martinez Tool Co as they share my passion for innovation, superior quality and customer service. We already have many exciting projects planned and look forward to starting this journey together.
To be frank, I do not have the highest opinion of the Hultafors Group’s tool brands these days.
As far as I can tell, CLC still makes decent high-value tool bags, but it seems Johnson Level has gradually slipped out of relevancy over the years. When is the last time they innovated in their space?
For instance, Johnson Level looks to have a new seemingly rebranded contour gauge at Lowe’s, but that doesn’t count, as there are countless look-a-likes on Amazon. They launched a value-priced 2-pack of rafter squares last year (made in China), but nothing similar appeared at Lowe’s for the 2022 holiday season.
Speaking specifically of this acquisition, I deeply trust the word of Mark Martinez. His name’s on the brand, and his mission has been to produce better products for carpenters and other discerning tool users.
Customers have always been Martinez’s top priority, and it doesn’t look like that has changed or will change, as long as he’s involved. Knowing his history with other tool brands, I am confident that Martinez made his involvement and continued direction an ironclad part of the acquisition.
Maybe future Martinez Tool products can also bring some life back to Hultafor’s Johnson Level and CLC tool and gear brands.