G&W acquisition vote faces opposition

Genesee & Wyoming Inc., the global railroad company which was founded in the Rochester area more than 120 years ago, was scheduled to vote today on its planned acquisition by Brookfield Infrastructure Partners, GIC and Brookfield Infrastructure’s institutional partners in a deal worth roughly $8.4 billion. But not without some opposition.

In an open letter to G&W’s board of directors and fellow shareholders, Victoria Dalrymple, a shareholder and founder of Dalrymple Finance, pushed for a vote of “no,” stating that the offer is “grossly inadequate.”

“GWR board is in clear breach of its fiduciary duties for failing to secure a process that will yield the company’s shareholders fair consideration,” Dalrymple wrote in her letter.

Upon completion of the acquisition, expected to take place late this year or early next year, G&W would become a privately held company. Stockholders would receive $112 in cash per share of common stock. Dalrymple argues that G&W shares should be valued at $145 to $165.

In addition, Dalrymple said company management stands to earn a generous payout upon completion of the acquisition. Pointing to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Dalrymple noted that upon conclusion of the deal, G&W Chairman and CEO Jack Hellmann stands to make some $21.2 million.

“Hellman’s payout equates to a generous 23.5 times his annual base salary of $901,500,” she wrote. “In total, company management will receive approximately $52.8 million in various payouts. The payouts to Mr. Hellman and other members of management contrast sharply to the lack of premium paid to shareholders in the transaction.

“We, as shareholders, deserve a multiple as rich as Mr. Hellman’s 23.5 times,” Dalrymple added.

A class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of G&W shareholders last month in connection with the proposed sale. The lawsuit seeks damages and/or equitable relief on behalf of G&W shareholders under the federal securities laws, according to a statement from Halper Sadeh LLP, a global investor rights law firm.

The lawsuit alleges that defendants issued a materially misleading proxy statement recommending that G&W shareholders vote in favor of the proposed sale. According to the complaint, the proxy statement contains materially incomplete and misleading information concerning, among other things, G&W’s financial projections and analyses performed by Genesee & Wyoming’s financial advisors.

A separate class action lawsuit was filed by Rigrodsky & Long P.A. in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware on behalf of holders of G&W common stock in connection with the proposed acquisition. That complaint alleges violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

Among other things, the complaint alleges that in an attempt to secure shareholder support for the acquisition, defendants issued materially incomplete disclosures in a proxy statement.

In early September, Faruqi & Faruqi LLP filed a class action lawsuit alleging that the proxy filed with the SEC violates Sections 14(a) and 20(a) of the Exchange Act “because it provides materially incomplete and misleading information about the company and the proposed transaction, including information concerning the company’s financial projections and analysis, on which the board relied to recommend the proposed transaction as fair to G&W shareholders.”

G&W owns 120 short line railroads, predominantly in North America, with operations in Europe and Australia. G&W’s corporate headquarters is in Darien, Conn., and its operating headquarters is in Jacksonville, Fla. The railroad’s administrative headquarters is at Meridian Centre in Brighton.

G&W stock (Nasdaq: GWR) has climbed from $97 on June 28, just prior to the acquisition announcement, to $110.33 in Thursday afternoon trading.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

Nu-Look Collision acquired by Canadian firm

Long-time Rochester autobody shop Nu-Look Collision Inc. has been acquired by a Canadian firm for an undisclosed sum.

Headquartered in Manitoba, the Boyd Group Inc., is one of the largest operators of non-franchised collision repair centers in North America in terms of locations and sales. The company operates in five Canadian provinces as Boyd Autobody & Glass and Assured Automotive, as well as in 27 U.S. states under the trade names Gerber Collision & Glass, Glass America, Auto Glass Service, Auto Glass Authority and Autoglassonly.com.

“We are very excited about this important acquisition which allows us to introduce our high-quality service to new customers,” Boyd Group President and Chief Operating Officer Tim O’Day said in a statement Monday. “This acquisition expands our footprint in New York and will better assist our insurance clients.”

nu-look-logoNu-Look President Todd Zigrossi was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday. The local company has 16 collision repair centers, which includes a dealer intake center and a location that specializes in the repair of large commercial vehicles.

Boyd officials did not comment on changes that may occur here, but did note that Nu-Look will be rebranded following the ownership transition.

Nu-Look was founded on Monroe Avenue by Jeffrey DiFulvio in 1981. Following numerous moves, Nu-Look opened its second location, in Fairport, in 1997, and has continued its greenfield growth, as well as a growth-through-acquisition strategy during the ensuing two decades.

DiFulvio exited the company around 2009; it then was co-owned by several individuals, Zigrossi told the RBJ in 2015.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

Transcat acquires Canadian software firm

Transcat Inc. has acquired a Canadian calibration software firm for about $1.07 million.

Mississauga, Ontario-based Infinite Integral Solutions Inc. is the owner and developer of the CalTree suite of software solutions for the automation of calibration procedures and datasheet generation. Total consideration for the shares of IIS was $1.4 million, Canadian, officials said Monday.

CalTree will be an important piece of Transcat’s company-wide calibration automation platform that is expected to drive greater service segment efficiencies and enhanced margins.

Transcat is a Rochester-based provider of accredited calibration, repair, inspection and laboratory instrument services and a value-added distributor of professional grade handheld test, measurement and control instrumentation.

The company in May reported record quarterly and fiscal 2019 revenue. Transcat posted fourth-quarter sales of $44.5 million, up from $42.5 million in the fourth quarter last year. Net income for the quarter was $2.66 million, up more than 8 percent from $2.45 million last year.

In April, Transcat expanded its Southern California footprint with the acquisition of Gauge Repair Service. The company provides a broad range of pressure and torque calibrations and repair services at its Torrance, Calif., laboratory.

Shares of Transcat stock (Nasdaq: TRNS) were down nearly 4 percent Monday to $23.24.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

Caldwell acquires Indian firm

Rochester-based Caldwell Manufacturing Co. has acquired an Indian company that focuses on facade and window and door hardware. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Mumbai-based Archintex Architecturals Pvt Ltd. is a leading pan-India company that offers high-end solutions from global manufacturers such as Cotswold, Lavaal, Dow Corning and others. Cotswold is Caldwell’s UK-based company.

“Window manufacturers all over the world have found success using Caldwell-branded products,” Caldwell CEO Eric Mertz said in a statement. “Now, we’re delighted to be bringing more of them to one of the fastest-growing markets in the world.”

Archintex was founded in 2012. The company will act as a bridge to provide Caldwell direct access to the Indian consumer and help provide a more seamless distribution of its products, officials said.

Caldwell was founded more than 130 years ago, and since 2000 has diversified its product line. The global manufacturer has 600 employees, including roughly 150 in Rochester. With seven manufacturing facilities and two distribution centers, Caldwell annually posts about $100 million in sales.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

Rochester materials handler acquires Steuben County business

Aloi Materials Handling & Automation has acquired Automated Cells & Equipment of Painted Post, Steuben County, for an undisclosed sum. Company officials said Aloi plans to integrate operations into a single company.

Both companies offer products and solutions targeted to meet the needs of customers in the materials handling sector, including automation, warehousing, controls, robotics, inspection, preventative maintenance and consultative services.

“Clients face complex operational and materials handling challenges that are rarely narrow in scope; there is usually a crossover into other aspects of materials handling,” ACE President Jim Morris said. “By working together and leveraging the combined company’s portfolio we will help customers by minimizing their need to work with multiple partners.”

Aloi President and CEO Andrew Creathorn will lead the combined company. Creathorn said the move is an effort to provide customers with a broader product portfolio and to deepen the expertise and integrated solutions capabilities that both companies offer.

Morris will remain in a leadership position and take on the role of executive vice president, automation. Creathorn indicated the company is not planning to eliminate jobs as a direct result of the acquisition and he sees an opportunity for growth as a result of the integrated operations.

“To say we are stronger together is indeed true,” Creathorn said in a statement. “ACE is a highly respected company and we believe that the results will be an enhanced product, service and solutions offering.”

He said the company’s goal is to grow the business by giving ACE’s and Aloi’s customers the benefit of their combined proficiency and “shared commitment to superior customer service.”

“Customers are busy; we want to make their lives easier by providing innovative, custom solutions to address their needs,” Creathorn added.”

Aloi was founded in 1977 and focuses on the industrial segments of manufacturing and warehousing by offering products and services for materials handling, automation, controls, robotics and more.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

Henrietta firm acquires Maine distributor

Horizon Solutions, a 160-year-old wholesale distributor of electrical, industrial, and safety solutions, has acquired Bangor, Maine-based N.H. Bragg for an undisclosed sum. The deal closed earlier this year.

Dick Wilson, John Kerkhove, Jim Newton, Jon Eames (N.H. Bragg), and Mike Herrmann (Photo courtesy of Horizon Solutions)
Dick Wilson, John Kerkhove, Jim Newton, Jon Eames (N.H. Bragg), and Mike Herrmann (Photo courtesy of Horizon Solutions)

“We are thrilled at the opportunity to acquire a company with such a rich history like ours. The longevity of our companies is due in part to creating a legacy of integrity, trust and excellence, exemplified in our company cultures that value our customers and our people,” Horizon Solutions President and CEO John Kerkhove said.

N.H. Bragg provides industrial and safety supplies to more than 4,000 customers across New England and employs 60 people. The acquisition will increase Horizon Solution’s nationwide employee base to more than 275.

N.H. Bragg will continue to operate under its name, Kerkhove said, and the company will retain its employees, suppliers and customers. N.H. Bragg President Jon Eames will serve as vice president of the industrial and safety supply division across the Horizon Solutions footprint.

“This union will help us grow while maintaining the excellent quality and service our customers expect, expand our solution offerings and market reach, offer employees more opportunities and build upon our mutual core values,” Eames said. “I’m excited for the future of N.H. Bragg and how the companies can work together to achieve greatness.”

M&T Bank Corp. financed the transaction.

“This acquisition brings together two companies that are steeped in history. Horizon Solutions traces its origins back to 1857, and N.H. Bragg was founded just a few years earlier in 1854,” said Dan Burns, M&T regional president for Rochester. “For more than 160 years they’ve provided local manufacturers and builders with the solutions and tools they need to succeed. As a bank that itself was founded in 1856 to serve Upstate New York’s burgeoning manufacturing industry, our team at M&T Bank was excited to have this opportunity to help our customer build on their history and grow their business.”

Horizon Solutions is headquartered in Henrietta and has 12 branch locations across its footprint.

“At Horizon Solutions, we recognized an opportunity to expand our firm by acquiring N.H. Bragg, a historic company that shares our company culture and commitment to serving customers,” Kerkhove said. “M&T Bank understood our vision and its potential to generate sustained growth for our company. The capital they provided helped us complete the deal and enter the next chapter in our company’s history.”

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

Ultralife stock plummets as company reports decline in revenue, earnings

Ultralife Corp. on Thursday reported a substantial drop in first-quarter revenue and earnings, resulting from delayed shipments, company officials said. The company also announced an acquisition in Texas.

For the quarter ended March 31, the Wayne County maker of power and communications systems reported sales of $18.9 million, down 18 percent from $23.1 million in the year-ago quarter. Operating income for the quarter was $548,000, compared with $2.36 million last year.
Net income for the quarter was $425,000, down from $2.15 million in the first quarter last year. On a per-share basis, diluted earnings were 3 cents, compared with 13 cents a year ago.

“First quarter results were significantly impacted by a reduction in government/defense sales largely due to delays of amplifier shipments under the U.S. Army’s Network Modernization initiatives by Communications Systems,” said Ultralife President and CEO Michael Popielec. “We are now operating at a higher rate of amplifier production and have produced more units in the month of April than during the entire first quarter.”

Additionally, Popielec said, normal fluctuations in government/defense order flow resulted in a decline in Battery & Energy Products sales.

“That was buffered by continued strength in medical sales,” he added. “With key amplifier product shipments now increasing and robust opportunities for growth from our diversified set of commercial and government/defense customers ahead of us, we remain well positioned for another year of profitable growth in 2019.”

Ultralife on Thursday also said it had acquired all of the outstanding shares of Southwest Electronic Energy Corp., including its manufacturing and technology facility in Missouri City, Texas, for $25 million in cash.

SWE is an independent designer and manufacturer of high-performance smart battery systems and battery packs to customer specifications using lithium cells. The company serves a variety of industrial markets including oil and gas, remote monitoring and process control and marine.

SWE posted revenue of more than $28 million in the 12-month period prior to Dec. 31, 2018, officials said. The transaction is expected to be accretive on an earnings basis within 12 months.

“This acquisition advances our strategy of commercial revenue diversification and enhances the operating leverage of our business model,” Popielec said. “SWE checks nearly every box in our profile of an ideal acquisition candidate: a complementary line of highly engineered, mission-critical, differentiated products; a blue-chip customer base; an innovative culture similar to our own; an experienced technical engineering and new product development team; a very strong management team; and a business model aligned with our core business.”

Shares of Ultralife stock (Nasdaq: ULBI) were trading down roughly 15 percent in heavy volume Thursday morning. Ultralife stock closed Wednesday at $11.07 and quickly dropped Thursday to the $9 to $9.50 range.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

Seneca Foods acquires Florida manufacturer

Seneca Foods Corp. has purchased a Florida-based producer of glace fruit products for nearly $9.4 million.

Documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week by Paradise Inc. show that the two manufacturers entered into the agreement April 15. Seneca Foods officials did not return an email or phone call for comment this week.

According to a statement from Paradise, the company had followed an extended process in which its board explored the sale of the company to a “broad range” of potential buyers.

“After exploration of a range of strategic alternatives, the board determined that this all-cash transaction and the sale of our other assets offers the best opportunity for return for Paradise Inc. and its shareholders,” Paradise CEO Randy Gordon said in the statement.

Paradise officials said it is expected that the company will enter into a co-pack agreement with Seneca Foods in which it will process, manufacture and package the products of the fruit business for Seneca Foods for the 2019 season. Seneca Foods will make weekly payments to Paradise based on an agreed upon budget, “with a true-up payment by or to us to be made at the end of the season.”

Last June, Seneca Foods announced it would close its Marion, Wayne County, canning facility. Company officials cited economic reasons for the closure, which affected 45 workers.

In February 2018, Seneca Foods completed its acquisition of Burnette’s maraschino cherry business in Traverse City, Mich., allowing the public company to supplement its existing maraschino operations.

In mid-February last year, the company announced plans to close its plant in Modesto, Calif., also due to challenging economic conditions. The facility, which employed 265 people, was used for packaging and warehousing of Seneca Foods’ peach and fruit cocktail products.

Shares of company stock (Nasdaq: SENEA) have dropped from $28.63 at the beginning of 2019 to $25.03 on Thursday.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

Bausch & Lomb parent acquires ailing Synergy Pharmaceuticals

Bausch Health Cos. Inc., the Canadian parent company of Bausch & Lomb Inc., will acquire certain assets of the bankrupted Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc. for $195 million. A hearing to approve the sale is scheduled for March 1.


“As we continue to transform Bausch Health, we are now pivoting to offense with research investments and strategic acquisitions that augment our core businesses,” Bausch Health Chairman and CEO Joseph Papa said in a statement late Tuesday. “We are excited to acquire the assets of Synergy, which we believe will strategically enhance our Salix Pharmaceuticals business and supplement our organic growth in gastroenterology.”

Synergy in December filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. At that time, Bausch Health entered into a definitive agreement to acquire certain assets of the firm. An auction scheduled for Feb. 26 did not proceed, as no party submitted a higher and better bid in accordance with the bidding procedures established by the bankruptcy court.

Headquartered in New York City, Synergy is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of novel gastrointestinal therapies, including Trulance and a second candidate, dolcanatide.

Bausch last week reported a fourth-quarter loss of $344 million, and a full-year net loss of $4.148 billion. Papa at the time said the company will focus on multiple key launches, including its Significant Seven products, and will increase its investment in R&D.

The Synergy acquisition is expected to close shortly after the sale’s approval, officials said Tuesday.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

Gates manufacturer acquires Massachusetts firm

logo-cpe corrosion productsCorrosion Products & Equipment Inc. of Gates has purchased the assets of a Massachusetts company, broadening its footprint in the Northeast.

CPE, which sells and services fluid management products, has acquired Universal Electro Mechanical Inc. of Springfield, Mass., a leading pump repair and refurbishment company. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

“This acquisition will strengthen our pump repair capabilities and broaden our service offering throughout New England and the Northeast,” CPE CEO Douglas Wade said. “We are thrilled to be able to invest in expanding our repair capabilities to further differentiate our company from our contemporaries.”

Officials said the staff of Universal, including former owner Jim Witmer, will join the CPE team. Witmer will serve as general manager.

“I am excited for my team and I to be joining such a progressive company that truly values its employees,” Witmer said. “CPE will give us a much larger platform to operate from, and I am confident our customers will immediately see the benefit.”

The Universal name will be retired as CPE continues to expand its brand throughout the New England states.

“From the beginning it’s been our goal for CPE to be recognized for its people, its products, its services and the value proposition we offer to the marketplace,” CPE Founder and President Peter Tortorella said. “Today marks another exciting chapter in the rich history of our company.”

In June, CPE acquired Canadian distribution company Flowstar Industrial Inc. Last year CPE formed a new operating division following the acquisition of Saratoga County manufacturer Donlon Industrial Flooring LLC. The purchase was through CPE’s Albany subsidiary, Composite Technologies & Infrastructure LLC.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

Bob Johnson acquires two Doan dealerships

John Love
John Love

The Bob Johnson Auto Group has acquired two of the Doan Family of Dealerships franchises. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

John Love and Gregory Stahl, owners of the Bob Johnson Auto Group, announced Monday the purchase of Doan Chevrolet in Spencerport and Doan Buick GMC on West Ridge Road in Greece. The renamed Websmart Chevrolet and Bob Johnson Buick GMC will begin operations Sept. 11.

“We are very pleased to be able to acquire these very well-run dealerships. The dealerships have great teams of people and are in new, state-of-the-art buildings,” Love said. “This expansion will allow us to build on our success in serving customers’ auto needs, continue to invest in the region and grow our position in the GM products we represent.”

The Bob Johnson Auto Group employs 750 people, including nearly 200 employees from the Doan acquisition. Love said he expects to increase its workforce by 10 percent next year.

The combination of Bob Johnson General Motors in Le Roy and the newly acquired Buick GMC will make Bob Johnson Buick GMC the largest Buick GMC presence in the Greater Rochester area. Combined auto sales in 2017 for the two GMC dealerships was 1,169.

The new Websmart Chevrolet is expected to grow its annual sales to more than 2,000 new and used vehicles within the next 12 months.

Greg Stahl
Greg Stahl

“The auto market is vibrant,” Love said. “We’re seeing a lot of consumer confidence, and both new and used vehicle sales are brisk. Over the next few months we will be introducing new options and customer experience features at our Websmart locations.”

The acquisition talks have been in the works for nearly a year, officials said.

The original Bob Johnson dealership was founded by Robert Johnson in a small building on Stone Road in Greece. Stahl joined Bob Johnson in 1988 as a salesman and in 1999 the store moved to its current location on West Ridge Road. Stahl purchased the dealership in 2001.

The Bob Johnson Auto Group comprises Bob Johnson Chevrolet in Greece, the number one selling Chevy dealer in the nation; Bob Johnson 390 Chevrolet, located in Avon; Bob Johnson Buick GMC Chevrolet Cadillac located in Le Roy; Websmart Auto, which is being rebuilt, at 4621 on West Ridge Rd in Spencerport; and CARite at 3950 W. Ridge Road in Greece.

Revenues exceeded $500 million in 2017. The group consistently ranks among the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce’s Top 100 list.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021

Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

Transcat acquires Virginia lab

transcat_416x416Continuing its growth through acquisition strategy, Transcat Inc. on Tuesday announced it had purchased a Virginia-based in-house and on-site equipment calibrator for $4.7 million.

Founded in 2000, Angel’s Instrumentation Inc. provides calibrations nationally to the manufacturing and maritime industries from its Chesapeake, Va., calibration laboratory. With roughly $4 million in annual revenue, AI’s service offerings include RF and electronic test equipment, physical, dimensional, thermal, flow and torque calibrations.

“Angel’s Instrumentation is a good strategic fit for us as it strengthens our position in the mid-Atlantic region and expands our customer base,” said Transcat President and CEO Lee Rudow in a statement. “We also plan to leverage our national footprint to lower Al’s cost of service to its national customers. Importantly, Angel’s Instrumentation shares our deep commitment to quality and customer service and we welcome the entire team to the Transcat family.”

In June, Transcat announced it had acquired NBS Calibrations Inc., a Tempe, Ariz., provider of liquid and gas flow meter calibrations and repair services. Transcat did not disclose financial terms of the deal at the time, but did say NBS President Brent Dudden would join Transcat under a contractor agreement.

Rudow, at the time, said Transcat’s current acquisition pipeline was “active.” In July, the company reported first-quarter increases in revenue and earnings, beating Street estimates.

Transcat is a Rochester-based provider of accredited calibration, repair, inspection and laboratory instrument services. Transcat notes its growth strategy is to “leverage the complementary nature of its two operating segments, its comprehensive service capabilities, strong brand, enhance e-commerce capabilities and leading distribution platform to drive organic sales growth” as well as expand its addressable calibration market through acquisitions and capability investments.

Shares of Transcat stock (Nasdaq: TRNS) were unchanged at $24.35 in light trading Monday morning.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

Finger Lakes Instrumentation acquired by IDEX

fli_vector_logo2015Livingston County-based Finger Lakes Instrumentation has been acquired by IDEX Health & Science LLC, a unit of Illinois-based IDEX Corp., a life science fluidics, microfluidics and optics firm. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Finger Lakes Instrumentation designs, develops and produces low-noise, cooled charge coupled devices (CCD) and high-speed, high-sensitivity cooled scientific complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) cameras for the astronomy and life science markets. The 18-year-old company has three facilities across New York, including two in Lima, and employs 31 people, all of whom will remain onboard.

“The Finger Lakes Instrumentation acquisition fills an important strategic gap and is a fantastic complement to our life science optofluidic portfolio,” said IDEX Group President Gus Salem., noting separately that IDEX’s strategic intent to drive accelerated growth of the FLI business as part of IDEX’s Life Science Optics business will require incremental investments at FLI.

IDEX’s health and science division focuses on high precision, high performance pumps, injection valves, connective tubing, fittings, check valves, degassing systems, liquid-end assemblies, and flow cells used in configurations customized to the specifications of analytical, clinical diagnostics and biotechnology instrument manufacturers.

“Everyone at FLI is excited to become part of the IDEX team,” Finger Lakes Instrumentation general manager Gregory Terrance said. “We look forward to growing the business and capitalizing on the synergies of FLI and the group of companies under the IDEX umbrella.”

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

Corrosion Products buys Nova Scotia firm

logo-cpeCorrosion Products & Equipment Inc. has acquired a Canadian distribution company located in Truro, Nova Scotia, for an undisclosed amount.

Flowstar Industrial Inc., a leading distribution company, is similar in scope to CPE, officials said. The similarities between the two companies will allow them to blend their products, people and culture quickly and effectively to stimulate growth beyond current levels.

All of Flowstar’s staffers will be kept on as CPE employees, company officials said.

“We will now have the ability to drive our value proposition to a much broader customer base, ultimately resulting in increased customer satisfaction,” CPE CEO Doug Wade said in a statement.

With the acquisition, CPE will work to expand its existing vendor relationships in the U.S. and Canada, allowing the company to expand its footprint with U.S. customers that have operations in Eastern Canada.

“CPE is adding a great company to our portfolio as we expand our platform into eastern Canada,” CPE President Peter Tortorella said. “Flowstar’s sterling reputation gives CPE a significant position in a marketplace full of opportunity.”

CPE sells and services fluid management products, and has roughly 120 employees across four facilities in Gates, Albany, Pennsylvania and the Caribbean. The company was founded thirty years ago by Rob Tortorella.

Tortorella in January stepped down as CEO so he could focus on developing CPE’s charitable foundation, Endless Highway. Wade, a 29-year veteran of the distribution and manufacturing industries, previously was with A.W. Chesterton Co., where he served as vice president and managing director of North America.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

FM Office Express buys similar Syracuse firm

fmlogosmallFM Office Express Inc. has acquired Syracuse-based Stevens Office Interiors for an undisclosed sum.

FMOE operates three office furniture divisions including Merkel Donohue Inc. in the Rochester and Albany markets and Stevens in Syracuse. The company also operates a division selling office supplies and industrial supplies, FM Office Products.

FMOE was founded in 1995 by Fabricio Morales, who sold Day-Timer organizers from the basement of his apartment. Morales learned early on that growth would come through acquisition. In 2004 FMOE purchased Merkel Donohue. Three years later, Morales acquired Business Environments by Ras in Albany. Both companies are dealers for Steelcase Inc., a $3 billion furniture manufacturer based in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Morales in 2017 told the RBJ that annual revenues for the growing company topped $43 million. Last year the company employed some 60 people in the Rochester area and 85 company-wide. FMOE is a certified Minority Business Enterprise and last year ranked third on the RBJ list of office supplies and equipment dealers, ranked by number of local employees.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer