Film equipment maker Battenfeld Gloucester Engineering Co. is under new ownership, as two former owners of EGS Gauging Inc. led a management buyout of the 46-year-old firm in Gloucester, Mass.
The deal closed Oct. 30, and partners John Sharood and Dick Murphy flew to Dusseldorf to announce the news at K 2007 and to meet customers and employees. Terms were not disclosed.
The first change: returning the company back to its original name of Gloucester Engineering Co. Inc. The machinery maker employs 305 and generates sales of about $100 million a year, Sharood said in an interview at K.
Taking Battenfeld out of the name was an obvious move, to avoid confusion with Battenfeld injection molding machines and extruders - two business units that Dusseldorf-based parent company SMS GmbH sold earlier, to a pair of separate European private equity groups.
Returning the Gloucester Engineering moniker makes a lot of sense for the company, which was founded in 1961 in the picturesque town in northern Massachusetts known as a fishing center, Sharood said.
``It's what a lot of customers know the company as. People think of it as Gloucester. We're just trying to return to that identity that customers have always been comfortable with,'' he said.
Mousam Ventures LLC, a private equity firm in Kennebunk, Maine, joined with eight senior Gloucester Engineering managers to invest in the company, which makes equipment for blown and cast film, extrusion coating, foam and sheet. Gloucester also builds printing presses and bag-making machines.
Sharood now is chairman of the machinery maker. Murphy is vice chairman. The president is Carl Johnson, who had been chief executive officer. He joined Battenfeld Gloucester in 1995 and is one of the management investors.
In 2002, Sharood and Murphy led a management buyout of EGS Gauging Systems Inc. from Eurotherm International Inc. Sharood had worked at Eurotherm, and earlier had a background in industrial controls at several firms, including GE Power Controls. Murphy was co-founder of Aeonic Systems, which became Eurotherm Gauging, then EGS.
EGS makes devices to monitor plastic film and sheet during production, so the partners knew Battenfeld Gloucester's good reputation, Sharood said. They sold EGS Gauging last year to analytical instrument giant Thermo Electron Corp. After the sale, Sharood and Murphy started Mousam Ventures.
Battenfeld Gloucester is their first acquisition.
Battenfeld Gloucester was the final plastics-equipment holding of German parent firm, Dusseldorf-based SMS. Heinrich Weiss, whose family owns SMS, has made it clear he no longer wanted plastics machinery so SMS can focus on its core business of machinery for the steel industry.
Sharood said Mousam Ventures first approached SMS before it was officially for sale.
``We knew that Gloucester was probably going to be sold by SMS at some point, because of all the changes SMS was going through, So we decided to approach SMS and see if they would consider making a sale,'' he said.
In recent years, private equity investment firms have swept through the plastics machinery industry. But Sharood said Mousam ``works more like an operating company'' that has no plans to resell Gloucester.
``This is not a big conglomerate kind of equity firm buying things and sticking them in a big portfolio,'' he said. ``We're specialists in the plastics equipment area.''