Monroe Truck Equipment has reached an equity agreement with Industrial Opportunity Partners (IOP), a private equity firm based in Evanston, Illinois.
One of the largest companies in the truck equipment industry, Monroe manufactures, distributes, and installs specialized truck equipment for the municipal and commercial markets. The company produces its own line of snowplows, spreaders, and other specialized products for snow and ice control.
Its flagship facility is in Monroe, Wisconsin. The company also has installation facilities in Marshfield and DePere, Wisconsin; Flint, Michigan; Joliet, Illinois; and Louisville, Kentucky. Monroe’s six facilities have more than 400,000 square feet and almost 600 employees.
“It’s not really a sale,” explains Monroe’s Rick Rufenacht. “We three owners continue to have equity. But the new partnership we have provides us with solid liquidity that keeps us on a strong growth path.”
Customers and Monroe distributors will not notice much change in the day-to-day operations of the company, Rufenacht says. Under the new partnership with IOP, Monroe will continue to operate from its base in Monroe, Wisconsin. The management team of Dave Quade, Rick Rufenacht and Greg Krahenbuhl will remain in their current roles and will retain significant ownership interests.
Andy Weller will assume the role of chairman. According to IOP, Weller has significant experience with companies serving the commercial vehicle market and with similar manufacturing operations to Monroe. Weller is a member of IOP’s board of operating principals, which is comprised of seasoned executives who provide leadership to the businesses in which IOP invests.
“We chose IOP because of their experience in automotive,” Rufenacht says. “They understand our business, recognize the cyclical nature, and see the long-term picture.”
"Monroe’s alignment with IOP is a truly exciting development that we feel will benefit all of our stakeholders including our community, our customers, and importantly, our employees,” Quade says. “We have chosen to partner with IOP to provide both capital and a valuable operating perspective that will allow us to continue expanding our reach in both new customers and products.”
IOP invests in manufacturing and value-added distribution businesses with sales between $30 million and $350 million. IOP focuses on businesses with strong product, customer, and market positions, and provides management and operational resources to support sales and earnings growth at its businesses.