Littlejohn & Co. has made an investment in The Hiller Companies, a provider of fire and life safety products and services. Netherlands multinational Pon Holdings is maintaining an equity interest in the business in partnership with Littlejohn.
Hiller’s services include design, engineering, inspections, and routine and emergency maintenance for fire suppression, detection, and sprinkler systems. As a distributor, Hiller’s fire and life safety products include portable and fixed fire extinguishers, hoses and reels, nozzles, foam, and other equipment used in fire detection and suppression.
Hiller also provides safety equipment such as gloves, fire-resistant clothing, safety glasses, masks, and air-breathing apparatus. The company’s customers range from small businesses to nuclear testing facilities, yachts to aircraft carriers, and gas stations to offshore energy platforms. The company, led by CEO Jeff Birch, was founded in 1919 and is headquartered in Mobile, Alabama, with additional offices in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.
“Littlejohn has a demonstrated track record of scaling businesses in the facility services sector, and I am excited to partner with them as we seek to expand our capabilities while continuing to deliver for our customers,” said Mr. Birch. “We look forward to leveraging the firm’s resources to accelerate our growth trajectory and execute the meaningful organic and inorganic growth initiatives available to our company.”
“We are thrilled to support the Hiller team as they build a unique platform in the fire and life safety sector,” said Brian Michaud, a managing director at Littlejohn. “Hiller has differentiated capabilities, serving customers operating in complex environments with sophisticated fire protection needs, and benefits from strong secular growth drivers. We will bring to bear Littlejohn’s deep experience investing in leading facility services businesses to accelerate Hiller’s growth plan.”
Greenwich, Connecticut-based Littlejohn invests from $50 million to $250 million of equity in middle-market companies that have annual revenues of $100 million to $800 million. The firm invests across a range of industries including manufacturers, distributors, and service providers.
Pon acquired Hiller in 2012 and completed numerous add-on acquisitions over its ownership term including Carolina Fire Control (2021), A&D Fire (2020), Protech (2019), American Fire Technologies (2019), Systems Management Group (2018), the Sprinkler division of the Ebacher Company (2017), Advanced Safety Systems Integrators (2017), American Fire Equipment (2017), and Standard Fire Equipment (2016). Over the past ten years, Hiller’s headcount has grown from 400 employees to over 1,400 employees today.
Pon Holdings is a privately held multinational company with interests in passenger cars and commercial vehicles, automotive parts, earthmoving equipment, and financial services. The company was founded in 1895 and has more than 12,000 employees in 27 countries with a headquarters near Amsterdam in Almere, Netherlands.
Baird was the financial advisor to Hiller on this transaction.
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