ESAB Group, the world’s largest manufacturer and supplier of welding and cutting equipment, opened its worldwide headquarters in Duluth last week.

ESAB, originally a Swedish company, is part of Charter plc, a $2.25 billion industrial group headquartered in London. More than half of Charter’s annual sales comes from the welding industry.

Mart Tiismann, group vice president of ESAB Group, told GlobalFax in a telephone interview that the move to the Atlanta area was based on the availability of managerial talent, the presence of Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport and the climate and other lifestyle considerations.

“We have an international management team and the location of our headquarters must be in a place that is regarded as attractive to their career paths,” he added.  He said managers would be visiting and settling in Atlanta from the four regions in which the company operates, namely Europe, North and South America and Asia/Pacific.

ESAB has operations in 25 countries, employs 7,800 people worldwide and has total annual sales of $1.25 billion.  The company’s North American headquarters is located in Florence, S.C., and has manufacturing facilities in Ashtabula, Ohio; Niagara Falls, N.Y.; Taneytown, Md., and Monterrey, Mexico.

Mr. Tiismann said that only a half dozen managers, including CEO Ray Hoglund, would work in the Duluth office for the moment, and that the staff here might be expanded in the future.

For more information, Mr. Tiismann may be reached by calling (678) 475-5100.  The company’s Web site may be found at http://www.esab.com