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Published in Economic Development

MiBiz Growth Report: March 15, 2021

BY Monday, March 15, 2021 10:57am

Here's the MiBiz growth report for March 15, 2021.

M&A

  • Melbourne, Fla.-based L3Harris Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LHX) signed a definitive agreement to sell its Combat Propulsion Systems, which is based in Muskegon and employs about 350 people, to RENK AG for $400 million in cash, according to a statement. Combat Propulsion Systems generated $230 million in annual revenues for the $18 billion L3Harris, which was formed when defense and aerospace manufacturers L3 Technologies and Harris Corp. merged in 2019. The deal positions L3Harris “to further focus on its core technologies and execute its strategic priorities,” L3Harris Chairman and CEO William Brown said in a statement, which noted the proceeds from the divestiture would be used for share repurchases. Based in Augsburg, Germany, RENK is a manufacturer of automatic transmissions and gearing for the armored vehicle, defense and civil marine, energy production, plastics, and oil and gas sectors. RENK employs 2,600 employees globally and generated 559 million euros in revenues in 2019, according to a statement. 
  • Traverse City-based Naveego Inc., a provider of cloud data integration solutions, was acquired by Aunalytics Inc., a South Bend, Ind.-based data platform company. The deal combines the two firms’ capabilities to build analytic databases and machine learning algorithms for clients, according to a statement. Naveego has served firms in the financial services, health care, insurance and manufacturing industries. Aunalytics executives told the Traverse City Record-Eagle that the company plans to keep the Northern Michigan location and add more positions. Traverse City-based venture capital firm Boomerang Catapult LLC previously invested $500,000 in Naveego in 2017, according to the Record-Eagle. Aunalytics also has a location in Kalamazoo stemming from its prior acquisition of the former Secant Technologies. Terms of the Naveego deal were not disclosed. 
  • Wood products manufacturer UFP Industries Inc. recently expanded its presence in the Australian market with an acquisition made by one of its wholly owned subsidiaries. Industrial packaging products manufacturer UBEECO Packaging Solutions — which is owned by UFP Industries and based in Sydney, Australia — announced that it has acquired J.C. Gilmore Pty Ltd, also known as Gilmores. The company, which operates out of a distribution facility located in Port Melbourne, Australia, is a distributor for the industrial and construction industries, specializing in packaging tapes, stretch films, packaging equipment, strapping and construction protection products.

Expansion

  • Conveyor Concepts of Michigan LLC, which serves the e-commerce, distribution and food and beverage industries, recently announced that it was investing $1.3 million in a 30,000-square-foot expansion to its facility in Coopersville, located in the Midway Industrial Park. This is the second expansion in the last four years for the manufacturer of structural steel and material handling equipment.

Health Care

  • Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital signed a joint operating agreement to manage the outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapy services at Munson Healthcare’s Cadillac and Grayling hospitals. Mary Free Bed at Munson Healthcare expands the Grand Rapids hospital’s rehabilitation capabilities and retains a team of therapists. Mary Free Bed began working with Munson Healthcare in 2015 and strengthened the relationship with more inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services in 2019. The inpatient unit in Traverse City treated 395 patients last year.
  • Grand Rapids-based Gateway Pediatric Therapy opened a second Mid-Michigan location in Owosso and its 10th overall. The facility offers customized applied behavior analysis treatment for individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Gateway Pediatric Therapy also lists clinics in Grand Rapids, Lansing, Southeast Michigan, Toledo, Ohio and Duluth, Ga.
  • Spectrum Health Big Rapids, Spectrum Health United Hospital in Greenville and Spectrum Health Zeeland Community Hospital were among 14 hospitals statewide to earn 2021 Hospital Patient Safety Awards from the Economic Alliance for Michigan. The award recognizes hospitals that consistently record high marks and improvements in patient safety and quality of care in semi-annual report cards issued by The Leapfrog Group, a national advocacy organization for patient safety.

Economic Development

  • The Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners voted 7-4 to suspend its 2021 funding to Southwest Michigan First as the fallout continues over the organization’s brief hire of former GOP House Speaker Lee Chatfield as CEO. The county’s suspension of its yearly contribution follows the city of Kalamazoo and some community organizations that cut ties with the economic development organization after it hired Chatfield. Chatfield resigned after a week on the job following outcry over his appointment.
  • A medical cannabis dispensary under construction on Grand Rapids’ northwest side is expected to be finished by mid-June. The planned JARS Cannabis dispensary at 1815 Alpine Ave. NW is being built by CD Barnes Construction Inc. Extensive demolition work of the formerly vacant 1,250-square-foot building that was built in 1950 is completed, and the Grand Rapids-based construction company is currently working on renovations. The property formerly housed Grezak Insurance Agency Inc., and was purchased for $1.42 million on Aug. 12, 2019 by Alpine Ave. Holdings LLC. The sale price was more than 14 times what the previous owners paid for the property in 2015, according to property records, highlighting the significant effect licensing cannabis stores can have on properties where they are allowed to operate.

Agriculture

  • The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the state’s Agriculture Preservation Fund Board have awarded $1.8 million in grants that will eventually lead to the preservation of 730 acres of farmland. The grants are allocated to seven local farmland preservation programs to close on permanent conservation easements, designed to create large blocks of preserved farmland. West Michigan preservation programs that will benefit include: Kent County ($201,294), Ottawa County ($157,500) and Barry County ($130,000).
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