Branford Castle, a New York-based private equity firm, today announced the acquisition of Vitrek, LLC, a leading manufacturer of highly sophisticated electrical safety test and measurement equipment based near San Diego, CA. The acquisition is the fourth for its fund that closed in late 2016.
“We are moving rapidly to deploy our investors’ capital, and Vitrek represents an exciting growth opportunity,” said David Castle, Managing Partner of Branford Castle Partners. “We are especially pleased to be partnering again with Don Millstein, who is taking over as Operating Executive and Chairman of Vitrek. Don previously partnered with Branford Castle as President of E-Mon, a leading manufacturer of electrical sub-metering equipment that Branford sold for an 11x return.”
The transaction follows Branford’s acquisition of Surface Preparation Technologies, the United States’ leader in cutting rumble strips for roadway safety; Earthlite Massage Tables, the world’s No. 1 brand of products for the spa, massage and wellness industries; and Continuum Foot Spas, LLC, a leader in the premium pedicure chair market and a highly complementary bolt-on acquisition for Earthlite.
Vitrek, founded in 1990, is known for its line of high potential (hipot) testers, high voltage meters and power analyzers. These products measure electrical safety, power consumption, and other characteristics of electricity in the context of the development, testing and manufacture of a wide variety of consumer and industrial products. Vitrek has significant market share in the United States, with most of its competitors manufacturing overseas.
Kevin Clark, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Vitrek, said the company serves a diverse group of customers, including premier brands in the electrical, electronics, medical, cable, power, lighting and consumer appliance sectors. “Customers use our equipment to test their electrical products during the development stage and also in mass production. Vitrek’s power analyzers aid design engineers in improving the power efficiency of their products. At the mass production stage, Vitrek’s electrical safety testers confirm that end-users will be protected from “electrical shock” when using that product,” he said.
Millstein has created a strategic plan to grow Vitrek through multiple avenues. “We plan to establish a comprehensive sales and marketing program to begin to access or further penetrate growth markets and to formalize OEM program opportunities,” he said. “We also want to expand the product line and launch an electronic component distribution program.” Millstein will take over as CEO when Clark retires after an appropriate transition period.
Laurence Lederer, Managing Director of Branford Castle, said, “Vitrek continues our focus on acquiring companies that have strong organic growth and bolt-on acquisition growth potential. We see exceptional growth opportunities for Vitrek in 2018 and beyond.”
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Led by John S. Castle and David Castle, Branford Castle is a recently formed lower-middle-market investment fund. Between 1986 and 2016, Branford operated as an award-winning family office. Building from its significant investment successes, Branford recently raised its first fund open to outside investors. With each new investment, Branford builds on its 30+ year history of helping to grow businesses. The firm typically makes control investments in companies with less than $15 million of EBITDA and a leadership position in a niche industry. Branford is particularly keen on the strong relationships it develops with its portfolio company managers.
Branford has particular expertise in consumer products and services, commercial distribution, business services and logistics. Branford also brings the expertise from its affiliation with the management at the leading middle-market investment firm Castle Harlan.