Plastic Components Inc. employs 70. Duffey said the company generated sales of $29.3 million in 2016.
PCI won Plastics News' 2008 Processor of the Year Award, and seven years later picked up the newspaper's Sustained Excellence Award.
Cleveland-based MPE Partners — which also owns dlhBowles, an automotive plastics supplier — targets lower-middle-market companies with transaction values of $25 million to $150 million, and is most active in high-value manufacturing and industrial services. In another plastics-related deal, MPE also recapitalized Polytek Development Corp., a maker of liquid rubber molds and casting plastics, resins and foams.
Stout Risius Ross Inc. served as financial adviser to PCI on the transaction.
The deal does not include the Engineering Resource Center, which PCI started in 2013 in a building next door to the headquarters plant. Tom Duffey's son, Ryan Duffey, is president and owner of that business, which builds prototype molds. The Engineering Resource Center will continue to work closely with PCI, Tom Duffey said.
MPE's website said the private equity firm partners with existing management teams, supporting them as they build their companies. That was important for Duffey.
“What's very exciting about the process is the MPE Partners' offer to acquire PCI was contingent on the retention of the full management team. They weren't interested in buying PCI unless the entire management team remains in place,” he said.
Duffey said he made the decision to look for a buyer at the end of 2015. He told key members of the management team the first day back to work after the holidays, on Jan. 4, 2016, right at 8:30 a.m. “So they were fully involved in the process right from the start,” he said.
Duffey started a manufacturers' representative firm with his father in 1980, shortly after graduating from college. He got exposure to many different varieties of manufacturing operations, including plastics — which stuck in his mind as a promising area.
Duffey got an MBA from Northwestern University, then decided to start a custom molder. Highly automated from the beginning, the company grew steadily over the years, based on large customers near its Wisconsin headquarters.
Many customers moved work to China in the late 1990s, including PCI's biggest customer, small-appliance maker West Bend. So Duffey pivoted and bought a former mold supplier, moving it into the molding plant as a toolroom to do mold maintenance.