Catherine Kavanaugh has an interesting story on a Michigan company that has quietly been creating a platform in fiber-reinforced plastics molding, buying other small firms to create a business with a range of production capabilities, sites and end markets.
National Composites LLC has gone from one plant in Owosso, Mich., to four sites just since January, and it's in search of more acquisitions. It's expecting to go from $5.75 million in sales last year to $20 million this year.
"Right now the goal is to at least buy one production facility a year to expand geographically," Chief Operating Officer Adam Fenton said. "Ninety-five percent of the market is mom and pop shops. Any time there's a segmented market like that there's bound to be consolidation and it's our goal to lead that charge."
One of the things that caught my eye, though, was a reference to one of National Composites' key markets, the marine industry, specifically supplying the makers of pontoon boats.
I've always thought of a pontoon boat as a floating front porch, but it seems that pontoon boats have picked up speed lately, not just in terms of sales of models with multiple motors to become a "wake-surfing pontoon boat."
"Pontoons used to have a single engine and you'd go out for a cocktail cruise. That's no longer the case," Fenton said. "They're doing a good job eating into what traditionally would be a V-hull market. You see that now with big boats that have twin engines on them."
But if that's not your speed, one unit within National Composites also makes something a bit slower: pedal boats, complete with a decoration featuring stately swans, a dragon or a big yellow duck.