The management team of Vermont Castings Group has purchased the wood stove and hearth business from a private equity firm after a “prolonged sale process.”
“After listening to all the different proposals and evaluating the options for returning Vermont Castings Group to prominence, the employees realized the best way for our business to succeed was to take back the control and play the leading role in driving the company’s strategic direction,” Ricardo León, the new chairman and CEO of Vermont Castings Group, said in a statement. “Over the coming weeks and months, we will refocus VCG on the hearth industry, and transition away from non-core activities.”
Based in Paris, Ky., Vermont Castings Group has a foundry in Randolph and an assembly plant in Bethel.
The ownership team is made up of current and former employees, including León, Pat Kelly, Jess Baldwin and Kirsten Jenkins.
Baldwin, senior vice president of sales and customer service, said in a telephone interview that The Riverside Company, a private equity firm, had put Vermont Castings Group up for sale.
In 2008, Riverside acquired the assets of CFM Corp., including Vermont Castings, and merged the assets with Monessen Hearth Systems. Riverside acquired Monessen in 2006. The company later took on Vermont Castings Group as its corporate name.
Baldwin said the change in ownership will not affect the Vermont operations or its approximately 120 employees.
“So when this came up, the management team basically bought the company, but it does not change anything with regard to those facilities,” Baldwin said.
He said more money will be invested in the company “to create new products and with the view in mind of growing the business.”
Baldwin said the company last year saw a small increase in sales “and it looks like 2013 is going to track on target or maybe slightly ahead of 2012.”
He attributed the increase to an improving economy and consumer confidence.
Baldwin added that most of the management team has many years experience in the hearth business.
As part of the transaction, the company cancelled the majority of its debt and as a result will be in a stronger financial position.
“With the financial commitment from the ownership group, an aggressive and focused operational plan, and the support of the senior lenders, we have created the financial flexibility to continue serving and earning the right to grow with our customers,” León said.
Vermont Castings Group is a supplier of hearth and grill products throughout North and South America, Asia and Europe. Under its four brands, Vermont Castings, Majestic, Monessen and Ambient Technologies, the company sells a line of products including wood-burning and electric fireplaces, inserts, log sets and stoves, as well as outdoor grills and heating products.
In addition to Vermont, the company has a distribution center in Canada and manufacturing facilities in Paris, Ky., and Mexicali, Mexico.