Lower-middle-market private equity firm LFM Capital has taken a stake in Vektek LLC, maker of hydraulic clamps used in machining metal parts.

LFM is investing alongside Vektek’s management in the business, led by Vektek CEO Troy Estes. LFM will help Vektek accelerate its growth in both U.S. and international markets, says Steve Cook, the PE firm’s executive managing director. Vektek, headquartered in St. Joseph, Missouri, designs and manufactures hydraulic clamps, work supports, cylinders, valves and power supplies that help secure parts during the metal cutting process in computer numeric control machining. Its customers include fixture builders in the automotive, rail, agriculture and aerospace industries.

LFM, based in Nashville, Tennessee, focuses on manufacturing and industrial services businesses, making lead or control investments in companies valued at $15 million to $75 million. The firm has a $110 million PE fund. Its growth plan for Vektek includes strengthening operations through investments in manufacturing capacity, using LFM’s professional networks to attract sales opportunities and operating talent, and guiding Vektek’s international expansion.

“Reliable products that increase machining precision and accuracy are necessary as manufacturers increasingly look to automate their processes,” Cook says. “Vektek is extremely well-positioned not only to benefit from those trends, but also to drive them.”

Recent M&A of machining and metal-parts-making businesses has included H-D Advanced Manufacturing Co., a precision-engineered parts manufacturer backed by the Riverside Co. PE firm, acquiring Numeric Machine Co.,  which provides machining services for oil and natural gas drilling; May River Capital purchasing machine gears and cylinder parts maker Meca & Technology Machine Inc.; and AE Industrial Partners acquiring AC&A, provider of metallic and carbon-composite parts and tooling for aerospace, defense, space and specialty automotive companies. Abacus Finance Group provided financing on LFM's investment.

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