Prospect Partners And Management Acquire
Leading Midwestern Fire Protection Services Company
Summit Fire Protection Co. to Expand Midwest Presence; Prospect
Partners Teams With Independent Equity Investors to Pursue Transaction
21, 2006: Leading lower-middle-market private equity firm Prospect
Partners, LLC has announced the management-led acquisition of Summit
Fire Protection Co. of Lino Lakes, Minnesota. Summit is one of the
Upper Midwest's largest providers of fire sprinkler systems and
related services for commercial properties and multi-unit residences.
In the transaction, a recapitalization of the business, Prospect
Partners also teamed with two independent equity investors, operating
veterans Jeff Evrard and Lon Binder, who will Join Summit's management.
Summit was founded in
1999 by Quintin Rubald III, a seasoned industry executive who foresaw
a market need in the Upper Midwestern states for fire protection
systems. Through select acquisitions and branch office openings,
Summit has grown into a diversified designer, manufacturer, installer
and service provider of fire suppression and plumbing systems and
related services, with locations in six cities across Minnesota
and Iowa. Summit's customers include contractors, multi-unit residential
office buildings, retail properties, universities, building owners
as well as professional services firms.
"Summit is an exciting
company that has always experienced consistent and solid growth
-- becoming one of the biggest Upper Midwestern players in this
market segment in just seven years," says Louis W. Kenter,
a Principal at Prospect Partners. "Jeff and Lon have closely
followed Summit's progress and we are excited to back them, Quintin
and the rest of the Summit management team."
Says Mr. Rubald, "We are a fast-growing
company and sought a well-funded, insightful and experienced partner
that could also provide managerial firepower to further build on
our success. Prospect Partners, Jeff and Lon fit that bill."
Prior to joining Summit,
Mr. Evrard and Mr. Binder served as Chief Executive Officer and
Chief Financial Officer, respectively, of DeLite Outdoor Advertising,
Inc., growing the company into Minnesota's largest outdoor billboard
advertiser before it was purchased by Lamar Advertising Co. of Baton
Going forward, Mr. Evrard
will be Summit's Chief Executive Officer; Mr. Binder will serve
as Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Rubald has been named President
and Founder, and Paul Rascher, who joined Summit in 2003 as General
Manager, will expand his responsibilities as Chief Operating Officer.
Management is a significant shareholder in the new company.
"I am truly excited
about this new and challenging opportunity and am equally as excited
about continuing Summit's tremendous growth into the future,"
says Mr. Evrard.
In pursuing their goals
for expansion, Prospect Partners and Summit will actively pursue
add-on acquisitions of niche businesses that introduce Summit to
secondary markets in neighboring states, offer a complementary line
of business or deepen Summit's penetration in an existing market.
Summit's Board of Directors
will include Mr. Kenter.
Remains Focused on Relationships With Independent Equity Sponsors
Prospect Partners continues
to focus on building relationships with independent equity investors
-- operating executives or investment professionals who sponsor
transactions for which they seek financing on a deal-by-deal basis.
The Summit acquisition is the latest example of Prospect Partners'
priority in this regard, and represents the firm's ninth transaction
over the last two years with independent sponsors of deals that
became portfolio investments.
"We are very receptive
to investors who show us growth-ready small niche leaders that could
use our financial and strategic resources to get to the next level,"
says Mr. Kenter.
In the case of Summit, Mr. Kenter
had worked with Mr. Evrard and Mr. Binder on Naegele Outdoor Advertising
Co., a platform company of private equity firm Marquette Venture
Partners, where he worked earlier in his career. "I was already
familiar with Jeff's and Lon's talent as operators," Mr. Kenter
says. "But just as often, we back investors, particularly those
with operating expertise, with whom we have never worked but whose
philosophy and abilities we find compatible and compelling."
Summit is the 10th platform
company of Prospect Partners II, LP, the $165 million private equity
fund that closed in June, 2004. The Fund's other platforms include
Group, LLC; Presidential
Pools and Spas, LLC; Codel
Holding Company; Kronos Foods,
Inc.; Pipp Mobile Storage Systems
Holding Company; Rental
Holdings, LLC; Spirit
Foodservice Promotional Products, Inc.; Superior
Tool Holding Company; and Velvac
About Prospect Partners
Prospect Partners, LLC
is a leading lower-middle-market private equity firm, managing two
funds totaling $270 million. Since its inception in 1998, Prospect
Partners has focused on management-led leveraged acquisitions of
unique niche market leaders with revenues typically between $10
and $30 million; the firm has invested in approximately 55 companies
within many niche consumer, commercial, specialty distribution and
select service markets throughout the United States.