JOPLIN, Mo. — High-tech battery maker EaglePicher Technologies is being sold to a private equity firm.

St. Louis-based Vectra Co. said in a statement Tuesday that it has signed an agreement to sell its EaglePicher business to affiliates of Chicago-based GTCR.

GTCR says in a statement that EaglePicher has more than 800 employees most of them in Joplin, Missouri, and Pittsburg, Kansas. The Joplin Globe reports that the EaglePicher workforce has been shrinking, down from an estimated 970 in May 2016 before two rounds of layoffs.

GTCR says the transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of 2018. EaglePicher has made batteries for more than 100 years for a variety of industries, including defense, aerospace and medical.

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