In what it characterizes as proof of its health and the industry’s, Latham Pool Products has a new investor. In August, majority interest in the Latham, N.Y., maker of vinyl-liner and fiberglass pools switched from Greenwich, Conn.-based Littlejohn & Co. to Wynnchurch Capital of the Chicago area.
“We’re excited about our participation with Wynnchurch,” said Mark Laven, Latham president/CEO. “I think it’s a vote of confidence in Latham and the swimming pool industry.”
Remaining shares are held by key managers of the producer. The new investor will not affect the company, its 21 facilities or 1,200-person staff, Laven said.
He called the new investor an ideal fit. Like Littlejohn, Wynnchurch is a private-equity firm specializing in middle-market companies. The private-equity firm holds portfolio companies in the U.S. and Canada, and Latham has facilities in both.
The manufacturer would not disclose the terms of the purchase or what percentage Wynnchurch owns, which Laven characterized as “the overwhelming majority.”
Private equity became a part of the company in 2010, when Littlejohn purchased a majority interest as part of a bankruptcy reorganization that was performed to restructure the company’s debt.
But that seems like a long time ago.
Since the restructure, Latham has acquired an average of one company per year, including Pool Cover Specialists, vinyl-liner and safety-cover producer Plastimayd, and fiberglass pool makers Blue Hawaiian Pools, Trilogy Pools, and Royal Fiberglass Pools.
In 2013, Latham reported $225 million in revenue, according to the Albany Business Review’s Book of Lists.
Latham is the second major manufacturer to announce a private equity switch in less than two months. In June, Centerbridge Partners agreed to purchase KIK Custom Products, parent company of BioLab, from CI Capital Partners.
“I think whenever a new investment firm takes an initial position in the industry, that’s good for all of us,” Laven said. “The swimming pool industry, although maybe not a large industry, is a stable market and ... there are opportunities to continue to grow in the future.”