A little more than a month after being sold out of bankruptcy to a New York-based private equity firm, the new chief executive officer of Wauwatosa-based Briggs & Stratton says the company is committed to Milwaukee and looking to hire.
"The Milwaukee community – and all of the communities within which we currently operate – has been good to us and we will remain a strong community partner that stands behind its products and supports its customers, for many years to come," said Steve Andrews, CEO of Briggs & Stratton LLC.
Briggs & Stratton Corp., the previous iteration of the company, filed for bankruptcy this summer as it faced looming debt maturities and a need for capital to fund its operations heading into a new fiscal year.
The company entered bankruptcy with an offer from New York-based KPS Capital Partners to buy Briggs. KPS ultimately acquired most of Briggs’ assets for $550 million.
Andrews, who worked with KPS as CEO of Illinois-based International Equipment Solutions, was brought in as to replace former Briggs CEO Todd Teske after the deal closed in September.
“Many of the external challenges that seemed to hit the company all at once are starting to stabilize: weather is in our favor; the stay-at-home environment has positively impacted our business … and, we're now a well-capitalized company, unencumbered by past liabilities, so we can focus on growth," Andrews said in a press release.
The company touted that it is currently hiring for more than 100 salary and hourly positions in Milwaukee and hundreds more across its other operations.
“I'm impressed with the talented team of employees at Briggs & Stratton and look forward to growing that team to support what will again be a very successful business," Andrews said.
He said the company would have “a renewed focus on innovation, new products, quick action and growth.”
In particular, Andrews highlighted Briggs’ Vanguard lithium-ion battery system and its push into commercial power applications. Those efforts were in place prior to the Briggs filing for bankruptcy this summer and were at the heart of a strategic plan unveiled in early March.
"While residential engines and products remain a core part of what we do, we will continue to strategically focus our offerings to include commercial engines and products, lithium-ion batteries and other systems and products that will help make our commercial customers more productive and profitable,” Andrews said.