Private equity firm acquires tube and hose maker


A private equity firm has acquired a Michigan-based maker of tubes and hoses.

Blackford Capital in Grand Rapids said yesterday that it has acquired Burgaflex North America in Fenton, near Flint, through its Michigan Prosperity Fund.

Mercantile Bank Corp. and Capitala Finance Corp. provided financing for the transaction.

Burgaflex, founded in 2004, is maker of coolant system tube and hose assemblies, serving the heavy truck, agricultural and off-road markets.

Its heavy equipment customers include Caterpillar, Deere & Company, AB Volvo and Daimler Group.

Growth phase

The acquisition is expected to spur growth for the Burgaflex, allowing it to expand, add jobs and add products.

The company employs 350 people at its facilities, which together comprise 200,000 square feet.

"Blackford Capital is exactly the partner we were looking for to help us strengthen our business and achieve our long-term growth objectives," said David Kennedy, CEO, Burgaflex. "Their investment in Burgaflex will be good for the company, our employees and our community.”

“Our investment will help to grow the business and also bring jobs to one of the areas of Michigan hardest hit during the economic recession,” said Martin Stein, managing director, Blackford Capital. “We look forward to participating in the long-term success of both Burgaflex and the greater Flint region."

Michigan jobs

The Michigan Prosperity Fund, created in 2012, invests in Michigan companies to generate “best-in-class equity returns" and also works to support the Michigan economy by "protecting and creating" local jobs.

Three other companies are in the fund: Custom Profile in Grand Rapids, Grand Transformers in Grand Haven and Mopec in Oak Park.

Burgaflex leadership

Burgaflex’s owners, David Kennedy and David Bubnar, will remain with the company following Blackford's acquisition.

Kennedy will continue to serve as CEO, and Bubnar will act as a consultant.

Blackford Capital also said that it has named 10 people to the Burgaflex board of directors — “in line with its commitment to support its management teams and the expansion of the business.”

Martin Stein, Blackford Capital
David Kennedy, Burgaflex
David Bubnar, Burgaflex
Fred Hubacker, Conway MacKenzie
Birgit Klohs, The Right Place
Larry Miller, Crystal Associates
Rick Granata, Ford Motor Company (retired)
Tom Saeli, JRB Enterprises
Todd Courts, Pace Trailer
Johann Finkelmeier, Goodyear 

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