Attwood Corp. is getting a renewed chance at growth under a new owner, Brunswick Corp., which is preparing to use the injection molder as a key building block in its long-term plans.
Brunswick of Lake Forest, Ill., announced Sept. 2 it purchased Attwood for $47.9 million in cash from Steelcase Inc., a furniture maker based in Grand Rapids, Mich. Steelcase had purchased 99-year-old Attwood in 1964. The company now employs about 200.
The sale comes a year after Steelcase transferred all injection molding for its furniture out of Attwood, leaving the Lowell, Mich., business unit committed to marine products, which do not fit into Steelcase's long-term plans.
Brunswick, meanwhile, is building a new marine business unit.
``Attwood is going to play a very important role in establishing our parts and accessories in the boat group,'' said Brunswick spokesman Dan Kubera. ``The first thing we're going to get done there is to integrate Attwood into our boat group and begin building it from there.''
Brunswick has more public recognition for its bowling and billiards offerings, but has the bulk of its sales in the marine industry, with brand names including Bayliner, Baja and Sea Ray for boats and Mercury engines.
But Brunswick has lacked a strong aftermarket presence, Kubera said. The company launched its parts and accessories unit with its June purchase of Land `N' Sea Corp. of Pompano Beach, Fla., for $52 million. It expects to triple that unit's sales within five years.
With Attwood, Brunswick is anxious to take advantage of the company's proprietary product development for the market and its in-house component design and engineering capabilities.
``They have very innovative and ingenious people at Attwood,'' Kubera said.