Lakeshore Diversified Products sold to holding company

January 7, 2011
| By Pete Daly |
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Lakeshore Diversified Products, a plastic injection molding company in Spring Lake, has been acquired by WPI LLC, a southeast Michigan holding company, according to an announcement by BlueWater Partners.

Matt Miller of BlueWater, an investment banking firm in Grand Rapids that served as financial advisor to LDP, said WPI has indicated it has “plans to add 25 to 50 jobs (at LDP) over the next year or so. They’re very committed to Michigan, to the automotive industry.”

Miller was not at liberty to identify the principals of WPI or terms of the sale, but said “this is their second acquisition.” He did not provide details of WPI’s first acquisition, but apparently it acquires companies “that manufacture interior trim components for the North American auto industry,” according to the BlueWater announcement.

According to the LDP website in December, it is a molding and assembly plant that was last led by President/CEO Jack G. Van Loon. Miller said Van Loon was no longer involved with the company.

According to Plastics News, Van Loon founded the company in 1989; it now has 32 injection presses and employs about 50. According to the LDP website, it has had sales averaging $6.5 million a year.

Miller said he and his father, Ron Miller, are the principals of BlueWater Partners, which serves primarily manufacturing companies with revenues ranging from $10 million to $100 million. The firm provides advice on mergers and acquisitions, and also turnaround consulting to companies that are distressed.

Miller said that due to the stabilization and slow growth in the economy, BlueWater is “seeing a pickup in transactions” involving mergers and acquisitions.

“That’s been unfolding the last few quarters,” he said.

One factor apparently fueling mergers and acquisitions, according to Miller, is that many companies — especially larger corporations — and private equity groups have built up “quite a bit of cash.”

He cited Moody’s Investors Service, which has reported that there are now nearly $1 trillion in cash and short-term investments on the balance sheets of non-financial U.S. companies, and “a significant portion will find its way into the M&A market.”

Miller also cited PitchBook, which reports that the U.S. private equity organizations are estimated to have $485 billion on hand for investments, and “private equity groups need to invest it or return it to investors sooner or later.”

“Most analysts, most experts, are expecting a better M&A in 2011,” said Miller.

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