Peerless Chain Company President Tom Wynn announced today that Peerless has received a Letter of Intent (LOI) to sell the Winona-based manufacturer, contingent on acceptable findings in the due diligence process. If completed, this would be the first sale of Peerless since 1997.
When contacted by phone, Wynn added that “I know that [the investors] have plans that they’d like to expand the business,” which may mean more jobs in Winona.
The potential new owners are Orchard Holdings Group of Cincinnati, Ohio, partnering with RFE Investment Partners of New Canaan, Connecticut. Wynn characterized the potential owners as thinking that the “relationships between the businesses that they own and the communities that they’re in are very important,” and Peerless appealed to them for that reason. Wynn stated that, “We are all extremely excited about the potential sale of Peerless Chain, as it will position us perfectly to continue our strategic and organic growth in the years ahead.” He added that this transaction should provide minimal interruption to Peerless’ business activities. The current management team will be retained and Peerless will continue to operate in Winona and satellite locations in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania.
Key factors in Orchard/RFE’s acquisition decision included the substantial growth of Peerless since 2004 through asset acquisitions, internal sales growth, and innovation in new product development. Production of chain from acquired companies' orders was moved to Winona, resulting in employment growth as well as sales gains. Peerless’ presence in the marine, tuna, and overhead lifting markets added approximately 50 new skilled production jobs in Winona, along with 20 other sales, administrative, and production jobs in other locations. Larger size capacity chain production equipment, substantially increased heat treat capacity, and fabrication of a new state of the art hot dip galvanizing system helped to diversify Peerless’ product offerings. For the past 11 years, Peerless has been owned by Merit Capital Partners of Chicago, Ridge Capital Partners of Middleburg, Virginia, and Pandora Capital Corporation of Barrington, Illinois. Peerless’ annual sales and chain market share have more than doubled since their 1997 purchase and Peerless has moved from the fourth largest domestic chain manufacturer to the largest in North America.
Founded in Winona in 1917 by three Polish immigrant brothers, Peerless was publicly held until 1986. Peerless will continue to be privately held if the purchase by Orchard Holdings Group/RFE Investment Partners is finalized, as expected.