logo

Claerbout brothers recapitalize rotomolder Dutchland

By: Bill Bregar

January 28, 2014

Brothers Carl and Daven Claerbout have recapitalized their Oostburg, Wis.-based rotational molder, Dutchland Plastics Corp., bringing in three investment firms and a new CEO from one of them — and Carl and Daven will remain in their roles and run the company day-to-day.

"My brother and I are anxious to work alongside our new partners in taking Dutchland to the next level," Daven said. He said the recapitalization came together on Dec. 31. Dutchland announced the news by issuing a news release Jan. 28. He said executives had already informed all employees, customers and suppliers.

Terms were not disclosed. But the three firms — two Chicago private equity firms, Isleworth Capital Partners and Omni Investors Group, and Cleveland investment firm Squire Ridge Co. — now are majority owners of Dutchland Plastics. Carl and Daven Claerbout maintain "meaningful ownership" and will remain at the company, according to Steven Ross, president of Squire Ridge. A news release issued by Dutchland said the brothers will remain "significant investors."

A breakout of ownership percentages was not released.

The new CEO is Clyde Swoger, a partner in Isleworth Capital Partners. "Dutchland Plastics is poised for significant growth — both through internal and external development — and it will be a pleasure working with the current management team and employees to take the company to its next stage of development," Swoger said.

Dutchland employs about 200 at its headquarters plant in Oostburg, north of Milwaukee, and a smaller factory in Sherill, N.Y., between Syracuse and Utica. The company is the 20th largest rotational molder in North America, with rotomolding-related sales of $25 million, according to Plastics News most recent ranking. Total corporate sales are $32 million.

Daven Claerbout said he and his brother did not have the financial capability to keep Dutchland growing. Their parents, Bill and Nancy, took over a troubled plastics factory in 1967. Carl and Daven purchased the company from their parents in 2006. "For Carl and me, it's a great fit. We're really sold on it," he said.

Following the recapitalization, the company has "adequate capital to take advantage of a number of growth opportunities," Ross said, among them adding capital equipment and increasing the work force to meet the demand of "very large accounts" it has secured recently.

Carl said: "The entire Claerbout family is thrilled that Dutchland Plastics' new partners appreciate the special corporate culture that has been the key to Dutchland Plastics' success."

The brothers and their new financial partners credit Dutchland employees. Philip Stamataky, a principal at Omni Investors Group, said Dutchland has turnover in the low single digits.

The rotomolder serves a variety of markets, including recreational equipment, industrial equipment and lawn and garden.

Crain’s Cleveland Business contributed to this report.