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MiBiz Growth Report: March 6, 2017

BY MiBiz Staff Sunday, March 05, 2017 08:23pm

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for March 6, 2017:

• M&A: American Grease Stick Co. of Muskegon was acquired last year by 3 Rivers Capital, a Pittsburgh, Pa.-based private equity firm. A manufacturer of branded automotive fluid transfer lines and related products for the automotive aftermarket industry, AGS has operations in Muskegon and the U.K. The company, which was founded in 1931, sells products through a variety of aftermarket retailers, including Advanced Auto Parts, AutoZone and Pep Boys, according to a statement. 3 Rivers purchased the company for $10 million from the Rosen family, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Business Times. The deal was backed by $9.75 million in subordinated debt and an equity co-investment from PNC Mezzanine Capital. JP Morgan Chase also provided debt financing for the transaction. Metz Lewis Brodman Must O’Keefe LLC of Pittsburgh served as legal counsel to 3 Rivers Capital. The sellers worked with investment banker Stout Risius Ross Inc. of Chicago. 

• M&A: Uvex Winter Holding, a safety equipment manufacturer based in Fürth, Germany, has acquired a minority stake in Grand Rapids-based Hex Armor. Under the deal, Hex Armor, a manufacturer of cut- and puncture-resistant gloves, will begin selling Uvex Safety Group’s line of protective eyewear. Uvex Safety Group, a subsidiary of Uvex Winter Holding, also will sell Hex Armor’s gloves through its sales channels in Europe and elsewhere as part of the deal, according to executives. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

• M&A: Post Community Credit Union in Battle Creek plans to merge into Berrien Springs-based Honor Credit Union. The combined credit union would have 23 offices in Michigan with assets of nearly $800 million and more than 71,000 members. The deal is pending regulatory approval and the vote of Post Community Credit Union members as of Dec. 31, 2016.

• M&A: Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum of St. Joseph has completed its merger into Grand Rapids-based West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum. The two groups plan to keep their separate branding, although the consolidated nonprofit will be headquartered in Grand Rapids, according to a statement. The West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum has a membership of 220 organizations in a 10-county area.

• Expansion: The Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians and Gun Lake Investments opened the tribe’s first non-gaming project, the $4.4 million Noonday Market fuel and convenience store in Bradley, according to a statement. The 6,800-square-foot store will be managed by Wyoming-based J&H Family Stores and is located south of Gun Lake Casino near the U.S. 131 exit. Rockford Construction served as the construction manager. Jackson-based R.W. Mercer and Seven Generations A&E of Kalamazoo were also involved in the project.

• Expansion: Grand Rapids-based Founders Brewing Co. is expanding distribution of its beers into Montana and the northeastern portion of Kansas, with products available in both markets starting April 1. Previously, Founders served only the greater Kansas City area. The addition of Montana marks 43 states where Founders sells its beverages. 

• Expansion: Special-Lite Inc. in Decatur has invested $1 million to purchase a new building in Benton Harbor, located at 1394 Empire Ave., according to a statement. The move aims to alleviate capacity constraints and allow for further growth. The company manufactures custom doors, hardware and other architectural products, and maintains additional facilities in Niles and Marshall. Cornerstone Alliance, an economic development organization serving Berrien County, assisted the company in identifying a site for its expansion. 

• Expansion: LG Chem Michigan Inc. launched an expansion project that could yield 150 new jobs at its headquarters in Holland. The manufacturer of lithium-ion battery cells will begin construction of the 100,000-square-foot expansion this month and expects the project to conclude in August 2017, according to a statement. 

• Expansion: Mercantile Bank Corp. plans to open a commercial loan office in Troy that will eventually grow into a full-service branch. The Grand Rapids-based Mercantile Bank hired a veteran commercial lender, Violet Gintsis, to lead the lending office. Gintsis previously served as senior vice president of commercial banking at Farmington Hills-based Level One Bank. Mercantile Bank previously had offices in Novi and a location in Ann Arbor that it closed in 2009 during the recession.

• Expansion: Holland-based I.T. services provider Worksighted opened an office in Wixom to serve a growing client base in Southeast Michigan. The new location houses service technicians, remote support personnel and account executives.

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