A private equity group has purchased fabricator Lehigh Valley Plastics Inc. in Allentown, Pa.
The deal closed Oct. 17. The seller is Fred Ressler, 62, who will stay as an adviser. The buyer is Libra Partners of Morristown, N.J., a firm led by Rick Larson, who takes over as president of Lehigh Valley. Larson has 15 years of manufacturing experience and worked as vice president of metal fabrication of electronic products for Bayer AG in Newton, Mass.
``We hope to keep all the people. We bought a good business - they do a lot of things right. They not only have sound management, but they have a good platform for growth,'' Larson said.
He said the company does a lot of work in the construction and heavy-industry areas, but also could grow in medical and other niche markets.
Lehigh employs more than 100 in 70,000 square feet of space scattered in four buildings in Allentown.
``What we want to do is bring in new energy, and leverage [Ressler's] experience,'' Larson said.
Ressler said the deal is an opportunity for him to get away from office work and concentrate on the manufacturing side of the business. His wife, Edythe, who headed human resources, has retired.
Ressler said he started out by selling Formica, but saw an opportunity with the advent of acrylics. The young business grossed only $65 the first month back in 1971, he said, but started to grow after he bought two fabrication machines from a New Jersey YMCA.
Lehigh does a lot of fabrication, but it has an engineering department for design and a small molding department as well.
``I plan to be around for a long time. It's still so exciting for me, but it was time [to sell]. You need to recognize that you can only take it so far - that it requires more energy to go to the next level,'' Ressler said.
The sale was handled by Richard Ward from investment banking firm Everingham & Kerr Inc. in Haddon Heights, N.J.