Grand Rapids private equity firm Auxo Investment Partners has acquired Altus Industries Inc., a Walker-based designer and producer of workstations for the health care industry.
The deal includes Spectrum Health as a strategic partner for Altus Industries. Spectrum Health, which made the investment through Auxo, is one of the largest customers for the company’s mobile medical carts, mobile and wall-mounted workstations, and accessories that are used in patient rooms, surgical centers and continuing care, radiology and emergency departments.
The investment allows Altus Industries to expand sales and product development, CEO Craig VanderHeide told MiBiz. VanderHeide co-founded the company in 2001 with Eric Kahkonen.
Selling a majority stake to Auxo Partners is part of a succession plan for the business. VanderHeide will remain CEO while Kahkonen, who serves as chief revenue officer, plans to exit the business in the near future to retire.
In recent years, the partners have focused on developing the company’s leadership team and “transitioning from that entrepreneur setup to more of a leadership team that could lead it” and take the company “to the next level,” VanderHeide said.
During that process, they were introduced to Auxo Partners, which invests in growing businesses.
“We talked, and when they presented the opportunity to us, it was clearly the direction we were most interested in pursuing to grow the business, not only for myself and Eric, but also for the leadership team and all of our employees,” VanderHeide said.
Terms of the deal were undisclosed. Miller Johnson PLC, Dickinson Wright PLLC, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, BDO USA LLP, BHS Insurance Services, Strategies Wealth Advisors, and Comerica Inc. served as advisors and lenders on the deal.
Altus Industries employs 35 people at its Walker facility and has been growing sales at a double-digit pace for years.
In Altus Industries, Auxo Investment Partners acquired a “strong, well-run, growing business” that has “tremendous cultural alignment with the way that we see the world,” Auxo co-founder and Managing Partner Jeff Helminski said.
Bringing Spectrum Health into the investment “is much more about the strategic aspects than the capital,” Helminski also said. Spectrum Health brings an understanding of the heath care marketplace and can help to open new distribution and access to new clients for Altus Industries, as well as to other health systems around the country, he added.
“With an established market position among notable health systems, Altus is the corporate standard for top quality and highly customizable point-of-care workstations,” Scott McLean, managing director of Spectrum Health Ventures, the Grand Rapids-based health system’s investment arm, said in an announcement on the transaction. “We believe we can help accelerate the company’s already tremendous growth by leveraging our network of relationships in the health care industry around the country. In addition to the relationships we will facilitate, Spectrum will bring to bear its knowledge as a purchaser and user of mobility workstations to drive user-centric product development innovations.”
In addition to Spectrum Health, other health systems in West Michigan, including Mercy Health and Metro Health-University of Michigan, are current Altus Industries customers, VanderHeide said.
Since forming in 2017, Auxo Investment Partners has made 10 acquisitions. The deal for Altus Industries was the firm’s fifth for a Michigan company.
Auxo also may make bolt-on acquisitions to support and grow Altus, Helminski said.
“The company has a very strong organic growth strategy that’s the core tenant of our involvement here, but we’re also looking at some opportunities for other products that are sold through similar channels to similar places and hospital systems that play in this world of mobile piece of furniture,” Helminki said.