Lancaster, Pa.-based private equity firm PennSpring Capital LLC has acquired playground equipment maker Swing Kingdom and rotational molder Atlas Molding LLC, both based in nearby Leola, and both founded by Amish businessman Amos Glick.
Terms were not disclosed for the deal, announced May 22.
Lou Castelli, managing partner of PennSpring Capital, said Glick will remain president and still owns a "meaningful minority stake in both companies."
Atlas Molding rotomolds components for Swing Kingdom and other regional playground manufacturers, said Brian Horst, chief operating officer at Atlas.
"Swing Kingdom's 50 percent of our business, but we have manufacturers all over the country," Horst said. The playground company, which employs from 30 to 50 people, depending on the season, serves the commercial and residential markets.
At Atlas Molding, 22 employees run three rotomolding machines — two rock-and-roll machines and a three-arm carousel machine with a 13-foot swing, Horst said.
Playground slides are a specialty.
"We have some very nice 14-foot slides," Horst said, adding that the big slides, as well as kayaks, are molded on the rock-and-roll machines.
Atlas molds a dozen different tube slides, with names like Avalanche Slide, Tunnel Express Slide, Sidewinder Slide and a corkscrew model called the Turbo Twister.
The rotomolder also does PVC coating of chains used on swings, a safety feature.
Atlas Molding added in-house pulverizing and color mixing three years ago.
PennSpring Capital is a lower-middle market private equity firm that focuses on companies with strong foundations and proven leadership, in industries with a high rate of fragmentation.
Castelli said Swing Kingdom and Atlas Molding are PennSpring Capital's first manufacturing holdings. The private equity firm has focused on companies involved in education and business systems and software, and youth sports. The firm has made eight investments in the last 10 months, including five majority investments.
Its website says PennSpring aims to invest in companies "that are not quite ready for institutional capital." Officials of the private equity company wants to have the company owner hold a meaningful ownership stake, from 20-45 percent, and work with existing management.