Published in Economic Development

MiBiz Growth Report: Feb. 8, 2016

BY MiBiz Staff Sunday, February 07, 2016 10:38pm

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for Feb. 2, 2016:

• M&A: Kalamazoo-based Stryker Corp. (NYSE: SYK) said it signed a definitive agreement to buy Sage Products LLC of Cary, Ill. for $2.77 billion in cash from Chicago-based private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners. A maker of disposable products for hospital intensive care, medical and surgical units, Sage Products had sales of $430 million in 2015, a 13-percent increase from the prior year. Pending antitrust review, the deal is expected to close in the second quarter. Stryker estimates the acquisition will add to net earnings for the year and raised its 2016 expectations by 5 cents to $5.55 per share to $5.75 per share.

• M&A: Grand Rapids-based Windquest Group Inc., the family office for Amway scion Dick DeVos and his wife, Betsy DeVos, is getting into the booze-making business, as first reported on Windquest is listed as the registered agent for CC Acquisitions, LLC, which formed on Oct. 29, 2015 and a day later changed its name to Coppercraft Distillery, LLC. The company appears to have acquired certain assets of the Holland Charter Township-based craft distillery of the same name. Coppercraft founder and head distiller Walter Catton III said he could not comment the matter. According to a Jan. 8 filing with the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, the small distillers license for the operations at 184 120th St. in Holland is being transferred to the Windquest-controlled company. The transfer also includes a small winemakers license and a microbrewers license.

• M&A: Omena-based New Mission Organics LLC, a 65-acre hop farm operation, has merged into related company Michigan Hop Alliance LLC, a hops processor, and was acquired by Streetcar Management Partners LLC of Commerce Township, MiBiz reported last week. Founders Brian and Amy Tennis remain with the company and will focus on the agricultural operations while Streetcar will run the business. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The company expects to plant an additional 35 acres this spring, with the idea of doubling in size again within the next two years.

• M&A: Fleet Engineers Inc. of Muskegon has expanded its truck and trailer business with the acquisition of Charlotte, N.C.-based Save-A-Load Inc., a maker of cargo bars for tractor trailers and pickups. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. According to a statement, Save-A-Load has produced a hydraulic cargo-bracing bar since 1994. Grand Rapids-based investment banking firm Charter Capital Partners served as the M&A adviser to Fleet Engineers, which makes and distributes products for the trucking industry.

• M&A: Hastings-based Quality Aluminum Products Inc. — a maker of siding, gutters, roof edging and other exterior products for the residential housing industry — was acquired by Grand Rapids-based Blackford Capital, the seventh deal for the private equity firm’s Michigan Prosperity Fund. Quality Aluminum maintains production facilities in Hastings and Flat Rock and specializes in lower-volume runs producing specialized products that it sells to contractors and suppliers in states around the Midwest.

• M&A: Bloem LLC, a Hudsonville-based manufacturer of planters and outdoor products, acquired American Designer Pottery, a division of Fiskars Brands Inc. The strategic acquisition makes Bloem one of the largest designers and producers of decorative planters, with more than 30 percent market share in the U.S. Terms of the deal were undisclosed. The Apopka, Fla.-based American Design Pottery had sales of $27.5 million in 2015 and employs nearly 50 full-time employees and about 100 part-time and seasonal workers during peak production.

• M&A: Wyoming-based Fixture Finders LLC, a retailer of used shelving systems, has been acquired by Illinois-based Hilco Merchant Resources LLC, a division of business service provider Hilco Global, according to a statement. The new company will be renamed Hilco Fixture Finders LLC. Hilco executives hope to leverage Fixture Finders’ national relationships with the acquisition, which will “significantly expand” Hilco’s fixed asset recovery business, Hilco CEO Michael Keefe said in the statement. Fixture Finders CEO Scott Hoek will continue to lead the new company from its Wyoming location.

• M&A: Service Express Inc., a third-party provider of maintenance services for data center infrastructure, acquired Compu-Fix in West Mifflin, Pa. The acquisition gives the Grand Rapids-based Service Express a market presence in the Pittsburgh area. Founded in 1986, the company services more than 2,500 maintenance customers through 33 offices in 15 states. Compu-Fix supports more than 300 customers that range from small local businesses to Fortune 500 companies.

• M&A: Sturgis-based VCI Inc. has been acquired by New York City-based Basin Material Handling LLC, according to a statement. VCI manufactures material handling racks for the automotive and government contracting industry. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. VCI was advised on the deal by Generational Capital Markets Inc. of Dallas.

• M&A: Southfield-based GRW Investments LLC has acquired four Grand Rapids-area self-storage facilities, according to a report on The investment firm acquired facilities in Grand Rapids, Rockford, Comstock Park and Belmont and plans to rebrand them as National Storage Centers. The four facilities, totaling more than 174,000 square feet of space, will be managed by Farmington Hills-based The Pogoda Companies Inc. GRW Investments paid $6.65 million for the four facilities, according to the report.

• Expansion: CEO Bill Parfet is retiring from MPI Research Inc. as the pre-clinical testing firm undertakes a $5 million expansion. MPI’s planned expansion will accommodate increased demand for investigational and pre-clinical pharmaceutical and medical device studies. The expansion will involve the renovation of 55,000 square feet of space and the opening of more than 50 animal rooms. MPI’s board will conduct a search for a new CEO.

• Expansion: Short’s Brewing Co. of Bellaire and Elk Rapids has decided to start selling its Short’s brand of beers and Starcut Ciders in Illinois and Pennsylvania, a market where the company had a relationship with a distributor. The company looked out of state for the first time to address an excess capacity of 10,000 to 12,000 barrels per year at its brewery and as it saw growth in Michigan start to become capped, according to CFO Brian Beckwith. He said Short’s remains in the “exploration phase” to get licensed in other states and then approach distributors about possible further geographic expansion.

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