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April 1, 2011
Altus Capital sells D.S. Brown to Gibraltar

Rubber & Plastics News, By Bruce Geiselman

NORTH BALTIMORE, Ohio—D.S. Brown Co. has a new owner after private equity firm Altus Capital Partners Inc. sold the business to Gibraltar Industries Inc. for $96 million.

D.S. Brown, headquartered in North Baltimore, designs, manufactures and supplies engineered products for the bridge and highway industry, including expansion joints, structural bearings and pavement sealant.

The sale was a cash transaction, said Greg Greenberg, Altus founder and senior partner. It included D.S. Brown’s headquarters and manufacturing facility, which spans 195,000 square feet. The firm employs about 240.

Altus Capital, of Westport, Conn., acquired D.S. Brown in 2008. Since then, D.S. Brown’s revenues increased by 35 percent and its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization grew by 133 percent, Greenberg said.

During its period of ownership, Altus Capital worked with D.S. Brown’s management to grow the company.

“These initiatives included increasing capacity, creating greater efficiencies in terms of their manufacturing process, as well as expanding their product offering,” Greenberg said.

As an example of expanding product offerings, D.S. Brown in February announced an exclusive distribution agreement with Chase Construction Products allowing D.S. Brown to sell several of Chase’s foam expansion joint product lines to the bridge and highway markets.

Greenberg said D.S. Brown was “well positioned” when Altus Capital sold the company to Gibraltar Industries, but they felt it was time to transition and sell the business.

“We further strengthened, with Altus’s support, the management team,” Greenberg said. “We further strengthened its leadership position during our ownership.”

Kirk Feuerbach, president and CEO of D.S. Brown, said in a statement that he credited former owner Altus Capital with helping grow the company.

Gibraltar Industries, of Buffalo, N.Y., manufactures and distributes products for building and industrial markets. Gibraltar executives said D.S. Brown has demonstrated outstanding success in its industry, and they pointed to a five-year compound annual growth rate of 10 percent.

Acquiring D.S. Brown is in line with Gibraltar’s strategy of purchasing businesses in the building and industrial end markets that have a record of strong growth and are clear leaders in their market, Gibraltar Chairman and CEO Brian Lipke said in a statement.

D.S. Brown is poised to benefit from bridge and highway improvements planned for the future, Gibraltar executives said.

“We expect these products to play an increasingly important role in the rebuilding of America’s transportation infrastructure and in Gibraltar’s sales, margins and cash flow in the years ahead,” said Henning Kornbrekke, Gibraltar president and chief operating officer.

Gibraltar executives declined a request for an interview to discuss their plans for the company or whether any changes were in store for D.S. Brown management.

However, in a March conference call with analysts, they said they saw a strong future for D.S. Brown’s services.

“A large number of bridges and elevated highways are reaching the end of their useful life,” Lipke said. “The average age of the approximately 600,000 U.S. bridges is 43 years, and 25 percent, or 150,000, of those bridges are currently considered structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and they will need to be repaired or replaced.”

Lipke, in the call with analysts, put D.S. Brown’s annual sales at about $65 million.