Company’s European, China facilities give it global growth potential, new PE owners say
International Thermal Systems LLC, a West Milwaukee-based manufacturer of ovens, washers and dryers used in beverage canning, commercial laundry equipment and other industrial applications, has been acquired by the PS Capital Partners LLC, a Milwaukee-based private equity firm operated by Paul Stewart and Paul Sweeney, and the company’s management team.
Terms of the acquisition, which closed Aug. 20, were not disclosed. The team’s management team, led by its president and chief executive officer John Zea, purchased a minority stake in the firm, while PS Capital holds a majority position.
The company’s management team is part of what made ITS an attractive purchase, Stewart said.
“They are highly experienced in the industry segment. They work as a team together, and frankly, we like them,” he said.
ITS’ headquarters are based at 4697 W. Greenfield Ave., where its main manufacturing facility is also based. The company also has smaller manufacturing and engineering facilities in China and Europe.
ITS has about $30 million in annual sales now, and the company’s global footprint give it significant long-term growth potential, Stewart said.
“They’re very well known – they have a good reputation with their customer base,” he said. “There is the opportunity for continued expansion as the economy rebounds. (Dollars are) beginning to be freed up in the capital investment sector, and we see opportunities in South America, Mexico, China, the Middle East and Europe.”
Stewart and Sweeney’s firm takes a longer term view on its investments than most private equity firms – many private equity investors look to buy, build and sell their portfolio companies in a five to seven year time frame. PS Capital Partners plans to hold its companies for 10 years or more.
ITS is positioned for significant growth in the next several years, Stewart said, and has a building order backlog over the next six months.
“This company will have one segment of growth following the larger corporations that provide metal packaging products (around the world) as a supplier to those companies,” he said. “The other area is in the general industrial product line, where they address a wide range of applications. As those companies come back, they’re expanding or launching new lines.”