News


Vogt Ice Logo

Weller Equity Partners Acquires Majority Stake in Vogt Ice

Vogt Ice, a leading commercial and industrial supplier of ice equipment, announced today that an investor group led by Weller Equity Partners has acquired a majority stake in the company. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Louisville-based Weller Equity Partners is a private equity firm that invests in lower middle-market companies throughout the Mid-South with a focus on manufacturing, healthcare,
information technology, food & beverage and business services.

Vogt Ice, a former division of Henry Vogt Machine Company, revolutionized the commercial ice-making industry in 1938 when it built the world’s first automatic sized ice machine, the Tube-Ice Machine. Prior to this, ice was made in block form. Vogt engineers designed the unique Tube-Ice Machine specifically to freeze ice automatically in vertical tubes, momentarily thaw ice loose from the tubes and then cut it into short cylinders with a hole in the center.

Today Vogt Ice designs, manufactures and distributes heavy duty ice making machines, chillers and parts to commercial and industrial customers worldwide. Vogt machines feature a tubular form of ice as well as plate ice technology, which produce ice at rates ranging from 1 ton to 110 tons per day. Commercial and industrial customers include packaged ice producers; food service, resorts and casinos; fishing, poultry and agriculture; and thermal energy storage, among others. The company currently has 100 employees with operations in West Louisville.

According to Dale Boden, managing partner of Weller Equity Partners, “As part of our investment criteria, we look for strong regional companies with identifiable competitive advantages in their industries, as well as experienced management teams that are vested in their company’s success. We are excited to back J.T. Sims and his team to provide Vogt Ice with capital to increase its focus on sales and marketing, expand its distribution and develop new products. This investment is a great fit for our growing portfolio of manufacturing investments.”

“This investment from Weller Equity Partners validates Vogt Ice’s competitive advantage and success in our industry,” said J.T. Sims, Vogt Ice’s Chairman and CEO. “Weller’s emphasis on developing collaborative partnerships with entrepreneurs, together with the ability to leverage their experience and access to critical resources to help us grow, makes them a great fit for Vogt Ice today. This recapitalization and partnership will be tremendously helpful in allowing Vogt Ice to expand our distribution and product offerings.”

Mr. Sims will maintain an ownership stake and continue with the business as an officer and member of Vogt Ice’s Board of Directors. Weller partners, Ken Berryman and Ross Jordan have also joined the board along with investors Dan Ulmer, Stephen Sautel and Bob Ayotte.

Weller was advised on the transaction by Frost Brown Todd (legal) and BKD (financial).

About Vogt Ice:

Vogt Ice, a former division of Henry Vogt Machine Company, is a leading commercial and industrial supplier of ice equipment. The company revolutionized the commercial ice-making industry in 1938 when it built the world’s first automatic sized ice machine, the Tube-Ice Machine. Prior to this, ice was made in block form. Vogt engineers designed the unique Tube-Ice Machine specifically to freeze ice automatically in vertical tubes, momentarily thaw ice loose from the tubes and then cut it into short cylinders with a hole in the center. For more information, please visit www.vogtice.com.

About Weller Equity Partners:

Weller Equity Partners is a private equity firm based in Louisville, Kentucky that invests in lower middle-market companies throughout the Mid-South region of the U.S. Weller focuses on companies that have talented and committed management teams and significant growth opportunities. Our mission is to address the capital and liquidity objectives of smaller private companies by providing flexible funding structures and private equity expertise to its owners. The Weller team is committed to producing long-term value in its portfolio companies through a combined 60+ years of broad finance, investment and management experience.

KFI Seating Logo

Weller Equity Partners Acquires KFI Seating

Weller Equity Partners (Weller), a Louisville, KY-based private equity firm, today announced that it has acquired KFI Seating (KFI), a Louisville, KY-based leading supplier of business and institutional furniture products. The acquisition closed on July 29, 2016.

“We have been looking for an experienced partner to help us replace a retiring co-owner and key executive, while keeping our sights fixed on the continued growth and development of our business,” said Chris Smith, president of KFI.

“We feel very comfortable with our new partnership with the Weller team, especially considering we are both based in Kentucky,” added KFI Chief Operating Officer Scott Williamson.

According to Ken Berryman, managing partner of Weller, “The KFI transaction is a classic fit for Weller as we look to partner with existing management teams to provide liquidity for shareholders, capital for growth, and organizational development to help businesses achieve their full potential.”

KFI was represented by Charter Capital Partners, with Andrew Williams, director, leading the transaction advisory team.

“A key component of the transaction’s success was making sure everyone’s interests were aligned,” commented Williams. “The transaction was designed so that each co-owner of KFI was able to achieve their financial and personal goals, while providing the company with a strategic partner to propel future growth. It was a win-win for all parties.”

Additional advisors to Weller included Frost Brown Todd (legal) and BKD (financial).

Founded in 1978, KFI Seating manufactures and distributes a wide range of moderately priced seating and table products for national educational, hospitality, commercial and government end markets. By listening to customer needs and adapting to changing market conditions, KFI has transformed itself into a furniture company with products to fit almost any seating solution. For more information, visit kfiseating.com.

About Charter Capital Partners

Established in 1989, Charter Capital Partners is one of the Midwest’s premier investment banking firms to the furniture industry, with offices in Michigan and Indiana. The firm’s solutions span the full continuum of capital, including buy-side and sell-side advisory, business valuation, exit planning, and capital raise for start-ups, acquisition and growth capital. To learn more, visit chartercapitalpartners.com.

About Weller Equity Partners

Weller Equity Partners is a private equity firm based in Louisville, KY, that invests in lower middle-market companies throughout the Mid-South region of the U.S. Weller focuses on companies that have talented and committed management teams and significant growth opportunities. Weller’s mission is to address the capital and liquidity objectives of smaller private companies by providing flexible funding structures and private equity expertise to its owners.

About KFI Seating