Lakeshore and Manufacturing

Transformer maker acquires company

February 12, 2016
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Grand Transformers GTI
Steve Parker, left, Jeff Helminski and Nick Hoiles. Courtesy Blackford Capital

A manufacturer in the region is nearly doubling in size and capability after acquiring a company on the East Coast.

Grand Haven-based Grand Transformers Inc., or GTI — a maker of transformers and inductive components that supplies various industries such as energy, oil and gas — said today that it has acquired Warner, New Hampshire-based Warner Power, a provider of engineered power conversion products and services.

GTI is a portfolio company of the Grand Rapids-based private equity firm Blackford Capital

GTI’s acquisition of Warner Power will allow it to access new customers and technical capabilities and allow GTI to participate in the power supply industry as a systems provider.

As a result of the combined business, GTI is anticipated to experience both revenue and job growth over time at both locations.

Jeff Helminski, board chair of GTI and managing director at Blackford Capital, indicated a bulk of Warner’s business is in the same field of power conversion devices and the other portion provides an engineering and production capability that GTI did not have.

“The acquisition of Warner adds significant technical capabilities to GTI, thereby expanding our ability to serve our existing customers’ needs in the medium-voltage market and in liquid-cooled transformer applications,” Helminski said.

Comerica Bank, which serves as GTI’s existing lending partner, provided additional financing for the acquisition.

Structure

Due to company growth, GTI has exceeded its current capacity, and the acquisition will also provide another facility.

GTI will remain headquartered at 1500 Marion Ave. in Grand Haven, and both companies will continue production operations at their plants.

Management at both GTI and Warner Power is expected to remain the same, and Nick Hoiles, CEO of Warner, will be named CEO of the combined business.

Steve Parker, current CEO and board member of GTI, was asked to step in the leadership role on an interim basis and will transition back into a more exclusive board member role.

Blackford’s role

GTI has been a portfolio company of Blackford Capital since February 2014.

Helminski indicated the firm typically provides the lead role during the process in terms of acquisition analysis, but in the case of GTI, Parker was also actively involved based on his experience.

“We are very excited about what the future holds under Nick Hoiles’ leadership and will continue to look for other strategic acquisition opportunities to grow the company,” Helminski said.

Parker indicated one of Blackford’s philosophies when identifying attractive companies is the opportunity for the other firm to provide value.

“Immediately when we bought (GTI), we were looking, scanning the horizon for opportunities like Warner Power to expand the value of the company through market expansion, intellectual capabilities within the organization and things of this nature that are going to drive both organic and acquisition expansion,” Parker said. 

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