Four top executives have purchased Parkway Products Inc., a nine-factory company that makes engineered parts from thermoplastics, thermosets, urethanes, rubber, composites and magnesium.
The executives are veterans of the Florence, Ky.-based company known for processing exotic materials like Torlon polyamide imide and polyetheretherketone, or PEEK. They bought the company from the Willig family, which founded Parkway in 1946.
The owners are Joseph Klunk, Parkway's president and chief executive officer; Nicholas Bitter, vice president of the company's aerospace and industrial business; Alan Ridilla, vice president of commercial business; and Daniel Deutenberg, vice president and chief financial officer.
Helping to fund the management buyout is a private investor group organized by Oxford Financial Group Ltd., an Indianapolis financial adviser. Oxford Financial set up a strategic investment operation, Parkway Mayfair Inc., to complete the acquisition.
Terms were not disclosed for the deal, announced Aug. 30.
Klunk, who has worked at Parkway Products for 21 years, said the company has grown rapidly by offering a range of technologies and pinpointing high-performance applications such as aerospace parts. Parkway has averaged 15 percent sales gains the past five years, and the company is growing about 20 percent this year, he said.
Klunk declined to give sales for Parkway. The company employs 500-600, he said. It runs single plants in Atlanta; Cincinnati and Cambridge, Ohio; Erlanger, Ky.; Lee's Summit, Mo.; Loveland, Colo.; and Seneca, S.C.; and two plants in Saltillo, Mexico.
Customers will see no major changes, officials said. Current management and employee teams will remain intact.
Parkway Products is Oxford Financial Group's first plastics deal. Oxford spokeswoman Katie Abernathy said the firm only invests in privately held companies with strong management teams, and stays out of running the business.
``We really want to be a partner. We're not going to take over,'' she said.
Klunk said the executive team is comfortable with Oxford Financial as its backer. Big buyout firms typically own companies for five to seven years, then sell to pay back investors. Oxford Financial is not an equity-fund, deal-making machine, but rather a financial services company that is diversifying into investing in businesses.
``The culture fit is a very good one,'' Klunk said. ``One of their unique features is they offer the opportunity to be a long-term investor partnering with a management team that's interested in long-term service to our clients.''
Those clients include the major manufacturers of jet engines, a key part of the aerospace market that accounts for one-third of Parkway's business.
Parkway Products makes plastics and composite parts for the fan engine, at the front end of a jet engine. The company also makes composite components for the airframe, the mechanical structure of an aircraft, and other applications.
Other markets include commercial, medical, industrial products and building and construction.
Parkway is a major magnesium molder, and a licensee of the Thixomolding injection molding technology from Thixomat Inc. of Ann Arbor, Mich. Magnesium molding produces lightweight but very rigid parts with thin walls and shielding for electroctromagnetic- or radio-frequency interference.
Klunk said the company molds small magnesium under-the-hood parts for automotive electronics. ``We're trying to grow automotive significantly with regard to Thixomolding,'' he said.
Thixomolding operations are centered in the Colorado plant.
Parkway also molds Torlon and PEEK into thrust washers and check balls, ultrahigh-performance plastic parts replacing metal components in automatic transmissions, compressors and other parts for the automotive and aerospace industries. In 2004, Parkway, which already was molding Torlon polyamide imide, bought the Atlanta injection molding plant of Torlon producer Solvay Advanced Polymers LLC.
``We're the largest molder of custom Torlon products, by far, in the United States, and probably the world,'' Klunk said.
In the future, Parkway officials want to get more business supplying subassemblies to customers, using the two plants in Mexico. One of the Saltillo factories, opened in 2002, does injection molding, reaction injection molding and painting assembly for customers in Mexico and North America.
Klunk said the new financing from Oxford Financial Group could help Parkway move into China in the future.