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Offshore Buyers Seek U.S. Middle-Market Manufacturing Companies

By Generational Equity

Manufacturing

Generational Equity is seeing a trend of more international buyers seeking mid-market U.S. companies for investment.

“It used to be we would have to hunt for these overseas buyers, and now we’re seeing many of them come to us,” said Chris Heckert, Managing Director and Supervising Principal of Generational Capital Markets, Inc. (a Generational Equity affiliate company), Member FINRA/SIPC, speaking at an M&A Advisor roundtable called “Manufacturing in Motion.”

This contrasts with five to ten years ago when large foreign investors were not interested in middle- or lower-middle-market companies. Heckert reports higher levels of activity even for lower middle-market companies of $2 million to $10 million in EBITDA.

According to Terry Johnson, Chief Revenue and Strategy Officer for Generational Equity, “One key driver and a benefit to our clients is DealForce, our proprietary buyer technology platform. The visibility and efficiency this provides to our international buyers really sets us apart in our industry.”

The stability of the U.S. currency and increased manufacturing costs in formerly low-wage countries makes investing in the U.S. more attractive, a trend the roundtable panel agreed was expected to continue.

Heckert added that he is seeing smaller international buyers. “What used to be billion-dollar foreign entities, whether it’s Asia-Pacific or Europe, are now becoming hundred-million-dollar companies, and they’re looking to invest their money into the U.S., not just these massive corporate entities that you see in the news all the time. That’s been a very interesting trend in the last few years, to see that new category of buyers come in and make sizable investments.”

In one recent example, Generational Capital Markets recently arranged the sale of its client, CEC Controls Company Inc., to Wood Group. CEC Controls is based in Warren, Michigan, while the acquiring firm, Wood Group, is based in Aberdeen, Scotland. Through the acquisition, Wood Group's automation and control division will be able to expand into the Midwest U.S. and develop relationships with the American original equipment manufacturers.

“Overseas investors have significant funding and great faith in the U.S. economy and should not be overlooked,” said Heckert. “Our global network of strategic buyers is a significant value add and one of the key benefits we bring to our clients.”

Download the full copy of the M&A Advisor roundtable report today.