November 8, 2004

Managers acquire Pixley Richards Inc. ( )

Four senior managers of Pixley Richards Inc. have acquired the Plymouth-based business from Fenway Group Holding BV of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Terms were not disclosed.

The buyers formed a partnership, Patriot Management Group, to purchase the precision insert injection molder and subassembler. The new Pixley Richards owners are Jonathan Soucy, president and chief executive officer; and three executive vice presidents – Ian MacLeod, engineering; Steven McMenamin, finance; and Rick LaViolette, business development.

Investors in Fenway Group had purchased Pixley Richards in 1993 from a unit of DSM NV of Heerlen, the Netherlands. In December 2002, the investment group engaged Canec Inteational Ltd. of Toronto to market Pixley Richards.

"Fenway Group was interested in suitors who exhibited a penchant for maintaining the integrity of the business, the employees and its most valuable customer base," said Jocelyn Bertheau, merger and acquisition specialist with Canec.

About 10 firms responded, with about one-half showing serious interest and making plant visits during early 2004, but Fenway Group opted to sell the business to the management team, effective Oct. 4. The new owners financed the deal through Congress Financial Corp.'s Boston division and Massachusetts Capital Resource Corp. of Boston. Suitors gave Pixley Richards high marks for solving technical problems, handling difficult-to-use engineered materials, implementing automated processes and transitioning to high-volume production, LaViolette said. "Pixley Richards' utilization of MuCell at the outset of its introduction shows we are always trying to stay ahead of the technical curve," he said.

The business in Plymouth occupies 100,000 square feet with 60 percent used for manufacturing and laboratories. A 28,000-square-foot satellite facility in Wyoming, Mich., performs molding and assembly. The firm employs 200 and operates 47 presses with clamping forces of 80-300 tons. It had 2003 sales of $35 million; about 80 percent involves automotive applications.

Pixley Richards was founded in Plymouth in 1965 and added the Michigan site in 2000. The sale did not include related plastics processing operation in Dieuze, France. Fenway Group purchased Prodi-Inject sarl in 2001, but no serious business ever developed. "Pixley Richards U.S. had an extreme advantage over the technical capabilities of Pixley Richards France," LaViolette said.

Displayed with permission of Plastics News, Copyright Crane Communications Inc. Originally published in Plastics News.