It’s a good fit. That’s the way Adam Dexter, CEO of Elkhart, Ind.-based Dexter Axle, sees the latest move for his company.
As reported by the South Bend Tribune, the Sterling Group, a middle market private equity firm in Houston, recently announced that it has acquired the axle and brake supplier.
“I just think it’s a good fit for Dexter with the company that Sterling is and the types of businesses that they focus on — manufacturing businesses with the key elements of distribution and a service-related-type focus,” Dexter said. “It’s just a real good fit between the two organizations, and I think it will work out well for both parties.”
The firm completed the acquisition from Tomkins Industries Inc., a subsidiary of Pinafore Holdings B.V., through its affiliated investment fund, Sterling Group Partners III.
“We are excited about the opportunity to draw on our deep experience with corporate carve-outs to transition Dexter to a stand-alone business,” said Kevin Garland, a partner at The Sterling Group, in a news release.
Dexter, which was a subsidiary of Tomkins Industries Inc., supplies not only axles and brakes but suspension assemblies, doors, venting products and related components to the industrial and utility trailer, recreational vehicle, heavy duty and manufactured housing markets.
Locally Dexter employs 85 people at its headquarters in Elkhart and about another 165 at its manufacturing facility in Bristol. Overall it has 1,275 employees.
Dexter had been owned by Tomkins Industries for 22 years. “And they were good to us,” Dexter stressed.
He said he does not expect dramatic changes within the company for his employees. “I think that the intent of Sterling is they saw a good business in Dexter,” Dexter said. “It’s been around for a long time, in excess of 50 years with a very strong brand and a leading position in the market place. They bought us for what we are and want to continue to let us operate our business and proceed forward into the future.”
One person had to be taken to the hospital after a fire at Dexstar Wheel Co. in Elkhart, Ind., on Monday (April 18).
The first of calls went out a little after 2 p.m., WSBT-TV, South Bend, reported. A spokesperson for the RV supply firm said a first shift manager suffered smoke inhalation while making sure everyone got out.
They also said the fire started in a powder coat oven, but spread to roof insulation.
The facility closed down for the rest of the day for cleaning. Normal operations were expected to resume today.
Adam Dexter, president of Dexter Axle Co., was elected to a supplier seat on the board of directors of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) during a special runoff election that concluded on Sept.10.
The special election was needed when Dexter and Stan Sunshine, chairman of Stag-Parkway Inc., tied in the balloting for the third and final supplier seat during the regular RVIA elections that ended on Aug. 24. The special election took place from Aug. 27 – Sept. 10 with RVIA official representatives able to cast their votes electronically during that period.
Dexter joins six other candidates elected to the RVIA board in this election cycle. They include five incumbents: Matt Miller, president of Newmar Corp. (manufacturer); Gregg Fore, president of Dicor Corp. (supplier); B.J. Thompson, president of BJ Thompson Associates (supplier); Bob Parish, vice president for G.E. Capital (at-large); and, Jonathan Randall, director of sales and marketing for Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (at-large).
John Rhymer, co-founder of Heartland Recreational Vehicles, was newly elected to a manufacturer seat.
All those elected to the RVIA board will begin serving their three-year terms on Oct. 1. The RVIA board has the highest level of authority in the association’s organizational structure and is responsible for association matters on a broad policy basis.
Richard Klein, a mechanical and aerospace engineer with more than 30 years of experience in vehicle dynamics, was among those addressing 82 representatives of 38 RV manufacturers and suppliers on the stability of trailer design during a March 5 seminar hosted by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind. Klein reviewed decades-old, safety-related engineering data, according to Bruce Hopkins, RVIA vice president of standards and education. “It appears from listening to Dick Klein that there was engineering information out there for 30 years that is valid today that only a few people knew about,” said David Mihalick, Thor Industries Inc. corporate standards compliance manager. “The seminar got us back to hard engineering data.” In addition to Klein, seminar speakers included consultant Harley Holt, president of Harley Holt and Associates Inc., and David Kinder, a partner with the Texas-based Cox Smith, a law firm that has represented RV manufacturers in cases involving claims related to travel trailer stability and rollovers. “The seminar provided a number of recommendations for the manufacturers to look at,” Hopkins said. The event was sponsored by AL-KO Kober, Corp., Dexter Axle Co. and Norco Industries.