Phoenix Products sold to Boston firm

Milwaukee rugged lighting manufacturer joins JMC Capital Partners

Milwaukee-based Phoenix Products Co. Inc. has been acquired by Boston, Massachusetts-based JMC Capital Partners and company management.

The transaction closed Aug. 31 for an undisclosed price.

Established in 1892, Phoenix manufactures industrial light fixtures used in harsh environments. It is located in a 68,000-square-foot facility at 8711 W. Port Ave. in Milwaukee, with additional sales and support offices globally, and has about 90 employees. In addition to manufacturing various lighting products for the commercial and industrial, mining and energy, container handling and marine sectors, Phoenix has a Phoenix International division that distributes rod ovens for the welding industry, and a Phoenix Terminal Solutions division, a sales agency for container, intermodal and bulk terminals.

George Wordingham became the fourth-generation owner and president of Phoenix Products in 1985. Now that he has sold the business, he plans to retire.

“I’m happy to be putting Phoenix in a position for long-term growth while also preserving the importance of its history,” Wordingham said in a statement. “The trust our customers have in us is something money can’t buy, so it’s important for everyone to keep this story going.”

JMC, which acquires companies with between $5 million and $35 million in revenue and invests in acquisitions and organic growth, plans to expand Phoenix Products’ reach in the lighting industry.

Scott Fredrick, CEO, Phoenix Products Co. Inc.

“We are pleased and excited to add Phoenix to the JMC portfolio as a new platform for rugged LED Lighting,” said David Logan, operating partner at JMC. “Phoenix’s management team has done an excellent job at growing their business, and we look forward to continued success.”

“JMC’s partnership presents great opportunities for our future in this industry,” said Scott Fredrick, chief executive officer of Phoenix. “As a 126-year-old manufacturer, we know the value of adaptability and perseverance. JMC’s strategy is a perfect fit for Phoenix and its plan for long-term growth.”

Joe Froehlich, managing director at Milwaukee-based investment bank TKO Miller LLC, advised Phoenix Products in the transaction.

“The plan is to grow Phoenix. The buyer’s plan is to pretty aggressively grow the business, so I would expect employment to increase if that happens,” Froehlich said.

All of the employees at Phoenix will continue to work at the same locations, which was important to Wordingham when he was seeking a buyer, Froehlich said.

“He did not have any children in the business and I think that was the first time in four generations that that had happened, and so there was no logical family member to take over the business,” he said. “It was important for him to have the company sold to someone that would carry on the legacy and continue forward with the team that was out there.”

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Molly Dill
Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.