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Cequent buys Harper Brush assets

December 6, 2012

SOLON, OHIO (Dec. 6, 12:40 p.m. ET) — Cequent Consumer Products, a Solon-based maker of automotive aftermarket products and household cleaning tools, has bought the assets of Harper Brush Works Inc. in Fairfield, Iowa.

Cequent, a division of Trimas Corp. of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., did not say what it paid for Harper, a maker of cleaning tools that was founded in 1900. According to documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the company paid $3.45 million, plus assumed obligations of up to $100,000.

“Acquiring Harper, who has a strong brand name in the cleaning tool business, gives us an opportunity to add to our cleaning tool product offerings,” said John Aleva, president of Cequent Consumer Products. “We have been leaders in the automotive market for years and now we are strategically paving the way to become the leading manufacturer and distributor of cleaning tool products for both residential and industrial markets.”

Harper is the second cleaning tool brand Cequent has purchased this year. In February, Cequent bought Laitner Brush, a U.S. broom and brush manufacturer since 1855.

Harper Brush has been operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company makes brushes, push brooms, mops, buckets, dust pans, housewares, long-handled cleaning tools, microfiber/dusting tools, and eco-friendly cleaning products.

Harper filed for Chapter 11 protection at the end of May. In a May 31 news release, it said that it had been adding production capacity since 2002 to meet customer needs. It said that it lost a significant customer in 2010, and that along with added debt from expansion, created financial challenges.

In May it said that it had 70 full-time employees with locations in Iowa and Greenville, N.C. The North Carolina plant is no longer operating.

Crain's Cleveland Business contributed to this report.