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MiBiz Growth Report: Jan. 9, 2017

BY MiBiz Staff Sunday, January 08, 2017 05:22pm

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for Jan. 9, 2017. 

• M&A: Grand Rapids-based Irwin Seating Co. signed a letter of intent to purchase American Seating Co.’s architectural fixed seating business in a deal expected to close in March 2017, pending due diligence. The business includes products for stadiums, auditoriums and other large venues. The company’s move to divest a “higher profile part of our business was an extremely difficult decision to make,” Chairman and CEO Ed Clark said in a statement announcing the transaction. The sale comes as American Seating seeks “to optimize its operations and resources in order to pursue significant growth opportunities” in its transportation seating business, where the company will continue to focus. American Seating intends to lay off 80 workers early this year as a result of the deal. However, a portion of that workforce may transition into roles at Irwin Seating, according to the statement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

• M&A: Grand Rapids-based fuel distributor Crystal Flash has acquired Richardson Oil LLC of Lawrence, Mich. in a move that will expand the company’s footprint in Southwest Michigan. Richardson Oil distributes a variety of fuel including diesel, gasoline and kerosene. Crystal Flash will add more than 350 new customers and four employees as a result of the deal, according to a statement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Grand Rapids-based Charter Capital Partners advised Crystal Flash on the transaction. The deal marks the ninth acquisition made by Crystal Flash since 2011.

• M&A: Founder and CEO Denise Kohler-Kolesar sold her Grand Rapids-based Kohler Expos Inc. to a longtime employee of the company. According to a statement, Pam Glass purchased the company in a deal that closed last fall. Glass joined the company the year after it was founded in 1998. Several family members have joined Glass at Kohler Expos, which produces six consumer-focused exhibitions annually, including Women’s Expos in Grand Rapids and Lansing. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

• M&A: ProSlot Ltd., a manufacturer of slot car parts, recently closed a deal to transition leadership after its current owners decided to retire. John and Angela Miller will purchase the Lowell-based company, which employs three full-time workers, from Dan and Cheryl DeBella, according to a statement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. ProSlot will relocate its operations to Hartford, Mich. as a result of the transaction, according to the statement.

• M&A: Neogen Corp. acquired Rogama Indústria e Comércio Ltda. of Brazil, marking the Lansing-based firm’s fourth acquisition of 2016. Rogama manufactures rodenticides and insecticides and generates annual revenues of approximately $8 million, according to a statement.

• M&A: Charlotte-based Spartan Motors Inc. (Nasdaq: SPAR) has acquired Smeal Fire Apparatus Co. of Snyder, Neb. in a deal that will position Spartan as the fourth-largest manufacturer of fire trucks and components in North America. The $36.3 million deal will wrap Smeal — which is projected to generate $100 million in revenue in 2016 — under Spartan Motors’ Emergency Response business unit. The transaction will be financed through a $100 million line of credit, according to a statement.

• M&A: Caledonia-based Acrisure LLC acquired Alaska USA Insurance Brokers, a commercial insurance and employee benefits books of business. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Acrisure is the 13th largest insurance brokerage in the U.S. with more than 100 agencies in 26 states and 2,700 employees. The firm in November completed the $2.9 billion management-led buyout of private equity firm Genstar Capital.

• Expansion: Gabriel North America, a manufacturer of upholstery fabrics based in Denmark, plans to open its first North American sales and manufacturing office in Grand Rapids. The company will invest $1.5 million into a 30,000-square-foot facility at 560 5th St. NW and create 56 new jobs as a result of the expansion, according to a statement. 

• Expansion: After acquiring Wisconsin-based Bemis Manufacturing Co. in October, Custom Profile Inc. plans to relocate the company’s operations to West Michigan. Custom Profile will invest nearly $2.3 million in expanding its facility at 2535 Waldorf Ct. NW in Walker to accommodate Bemis Manufacturing, which produces plastic extrusion components for the health care and automotive industries. The company also plans to hire 54 new positions as a result of the relocation and expansion. Blackford Capital acquired Custom Profile in 2012 as the first company under the private equity firm’s Michigan Prosperity Fund, which targets mature manufacturing operations based in Michigan.

• Expansion: Ferris Coffee & Nut Co. will consolidate its operations under one roof in Grand Rapids with the purchase of the former American Seating building at 601 7th St. NW. Ferris will continue to operate its retail location at 227 Winter Ave. NW although “future plans for the existing retail store and coffee shop are undetermined,” according to the statement.

Sigma Machine Inc. plans to invest $27.8 million in an expansion project that will increase the company’s presence in the Midlink Business Park in Comstock Township, according to a statement. The family-owned machine shop, which serves as a Tier 1 supplier to Tesla Motors and companies in the medical device and food processing industries, expects to create 58 jobs with the project.

• Expansion: Grand Rapids-based Grand Central Market LLC at 57 Monroe Center NW has added 2,200 square feet by expanding into the space next door that was formerly occupied by West Coast Coffee. Each of the spaces are owned and managed by Grand Rapids-based Rockford Construction Co. through a subsidiary. First Community Bank provided an undisclosed amount of financing for the expansion. The expansion will allow the market to offer more produce, general grocery items, craft beer and wine and expand its sit-down options. 

• Expansion: Mophie LLC plans to invest $685,000 in an expansion project in Texas Township, approximately 10 miles southwest of Kalamazoo. The Kalamazoo-based manufacturer of mobile phone battery cases and other consumer electronics will hire 65 workers as a result of the expansion. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. supported the project with a $375,000 performance-based grant.

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