IOP-backed Monroe acquires truck equipment maker Towmaster, shows confidence in manufacturing M&A

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Industrial Opportunity Partners (IOP) platform company Monroe Truck Equipment Inc. has acquired Towmaster Inc., a Midwest manufacturer of trucking equipment. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Towmaster designs low-bed utility and industrial trailers, snow and ice removal tools, and sanding equipment for trucks. The Litchfield, Minnesota-based target serves customers in the construction, landscaping, and agricultural end-markets.

Monroe is a U.S. manufacturer of trucking equipment for the municipal and commercial industries. The Monroe, Wisconsin-based buyer will now have seven facilities throughout the Midwest with the addition of Towmaster. Monroe’s facilities now span more than 550,000 square feet with approximately 800 employees. IOP acquired Monroe from its $275 million Industrial Opportunity Partners II fund.

The deal for Towmaster follows the firm’s recent platform investment in roofing manufacturer Union Corrugating Company Holdings Inc. The Evanston, Illinois-based PE firm used the same IOP II fund to acquire wood molding distributor Alexandria Moulding Inc. in 2016 and hardwood manufacturer Coldwater Veneer Inc. in 2015. IOP’s other investments from the Industrial Opportunity Partners II fund include: AAA Sales & Engineering Inc., Aarrowcast Inc., El Dorado Packaging Inc., KIC LLC, Betty Machine Co. Inc. and Coldwater Veneer Inc.

Businesses involving trucking and automotive equipment have become attractive targets across the middle market. Some related deals include: W.W. Williams’, backed by One Equity Partners, purchase of truck maintenance company ASH; Carl Icahn’s purchase of Pep Boys - Manny Moe & Jack; Platte River Equity’s acquisition of CTS Engines; Ridgemont Equity Partners’ purchase of Worldwide Express from Quad-C Management; and Roark Capital-backed Driven Brands completed deal for Take 5 Oil Change Inc.

Rice & Associates served as financial adviser to Towmaster. Freeport Financial Partners LLC provided financing, while Winston & Strawn LLP served as legal adviser to IOP on the deal.

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