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Vermont Castings up for sale

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by FyreBug, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. FyreBug

    FyreBug Minister of Fire

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    Buyers Sought for Vermont Castings Group
    PARIS, KENTUCKY

    The Riverside Company, the parent of leading hearth and grill manufacturer Vermont Castings Group, has elected to exit its investment in the company and is seeking potential buyers.

    "Vermont Castings Group is a stable and profitable company with an enviable portfolio of brands and products, a solid team and a strong growth strategy that requires additional investment," said Dan Clifford, president and CEO of Vermont Castings Group. "We know that Vermont Castings Group is an attractive asset and we look forward to continued success in both the short and long terms."

    Riverside acquired the company, formerly known as Monessen Hearth Systems Company, in 2006.

    "We have supported Vermont Castings Group through a difficult and protracted recession," said Tim Gosline, partner at The Riverside Company. "With the company now on stable footing, and the economy strengthening, we believe now is the appropriate time to seek new investors."

    Vermont Castings Group has retained Huron Consulting Group as its financial advisor in connection with the transaction. The process will be conducted as quickly as possible, with a target completion of 60-90 days.

    About Vermont Castings Group
    Vermont Castings Group is a leading supplier of hearth and grill products throughout North and South America, Asia and Europe. Under its four brands, Vermont Castings, Majestic, Monessen and Ambient Technologies, Vermont Castings Group offers a full line of direct-vent, natural-vent, vent-free, wood-burning and electric fireplaces, inserts, log sets and stoves as well as outdoor grills and heating products. Vermont Castings Group is proud to be on the cutting edge of design, efficiency and environmental responsibility.

    The Riverside Company
    The Riverside Company is a global private equity firm focused on acquiring growing businesses valued at up to $200 million (€200 million in Europe). Since its founding in 1988, Riverside has invested in more than 300 transactions. The firm's international portfolio includes more than 75 companies.

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  2. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    Rats jumping ship...

    If it was making enough of a profit they would want to keep all of the profit. Not share it out of good will.

    Matt
  3. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    The shortcomings of VC aside, isn't this a common thing with businesses that buy companies like this?
    Adios Pantalones likes this.
  4. Buckeye 2012

    Buckeye 2012 New Member

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    Riverside is a private equity firm so yes that is what thy do flip companies. Bought it in 2008 at the height of the recession for 42 million. Will probably sell for a lot more. They were in bankruptcy prior to riverside buying so this is all a good thing.
  5. FyreBug

    FyreBug Minister of Fire

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    I doubt very much they will get 42 millions for this. VC has been in financial difficulties for many years and were quietly up for sales for at least 3. Not very likely anybody in the industry will bite. Unless it was a liquidation at pennies on the dollar.

    They made a strange strategic move 1 month ago by changing their overall corporate name to Vermont Castings. It now makes sense since this may indicate they will not be willing to splinter off the various branches of the company.

    My very myopic guess is another investment group might look at it. Something similar happened to Lennox Hearth now IHP.
    Redlegs likes this.
  6. dougand3

    dougand3 Minister of Fire

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    Makes my head spin trying to keep up with who owns VC. What will happen to warranties when they sell? I think Monessen said "You're SOL, sucker" but that may have been possible because of bankruptcy. No way would I buy a new VC with their track record over the last decade.
  7. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    A successful company started by hippies making a great product stumbles through the world of private investment pump and dump greed. A shame.
    gyrfalcon, Redlegs, Joful and 2 others like this.
  8. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    It would be fantastic to see VC return to it's roots, however I think the forest fire of corporate intervention made it underground and burned them away.
    flhpi likes this.
  9. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Here is my belief; it will not matter who owns it. Until they move away from their current designs they will always have customer service problems, quality problems, customer maintenance problems, and a perceived high percentage of faulty products.

    Every downdraft stove is either high maintenance and costly to run (VC, Harman, Lopi) or unpredictable (VC and Lopi).

    Yes, there are some owners that have a good deal of success with the stoves. I have relatively no problems or complaints with the VC stoves when it comes to running them. There is a poster or two with Harman stoves that are happy. And I think there is one or two Leyden owners that are happy on this forum.

    But, there is such a long history of owners having problems with operating the stove, or maintaining the stove, that it seems pretty clear that the downdraft design either needs to be shelved or completely redone.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    My first real stove was a '79 VC Resolute. It was a superb product. Beautifully cast and elegantly simple. My brother had a Vigilant which is a real testimony to the quality of this product. He is not gentle on stoves. Current status reminds me of Haig and crew killing the Amiga & Commodore in spite of it being way ahead of its time. Damn corporate raiders, may they rot in hell one and all.
    gyrfalcon likes this.
  11. FyreBug

    FyreBug Minister of Fire

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    Well it's not as easy as profit taking (since there is very little of it). I'm no expert in the matter but talking to those who are, it's the casting plant that is sinking them.

    Once a casting plant gets going you can only shut it down for maintenance. You pay huge energy cost to keep it running 24/7 whether its busy or sitting idle. The problem with casting plant is you have to be in the casting business... not the hearth business. You need to make castings for automotive industry, rail, tractor etc... Hearth is a drop in the bucket. And VC had very little of the others then lost their contract with Jotul 2 years ago.

    That's a lot of money bleeding there.
  12. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    Time for VC to switch to steel with a soapstone cover ;)
  13. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    Good luck to all that just bought their stoves,it could get hard.I just had to laugh when i saw this post after all i've heard.They want to make a stove i think a complete redesign would be a start.How many EXPENSIVE parts in 1 of those things.I looked inside the firebox of the VC's when we were shopping and decided right there that it weren't happening.You burn people and word spreads fasssssst.I like what i'm burning.
  14. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Bobby Fischer strikes again.
  15. 31 bertram

    31 bertram New Member

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    I imagine companies like Woodstock and others are eating their lunch. Why take a chance with a questionable products when there are so many proven choices. I went thru my VC 2550 completely this year and it was a nightmare and pretty costly. My next stove will be 6" pipe and low maintenance for sure. And guess which company will not be given consideration.
  16. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    It's damn shame. They make some of the best castings in the country. I hope someone with great management skills buys them. Though it'll probably be a Chinese company.
  17. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Ugh. I was going to do the refractory in mine this year. Makes me think I should order the parts now in case. Im not ready to dump the stove altogether.

    I know at one point their foundary also cast lodge cookware, gas range cook grates for various companies and parts for other cast iron wood stove makers. If Jotul pulled out I wonder if these other contracts are still in place.
  18. ridemgis

    ridemgis Burning Hunk

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    You're OK BB!

    And we'll said!
    Oldhippie likes this.
  19. Oldhippie

    Oldhippie Minister of Fire

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    I've got a little Resolute Acclaim that I bought from a neighbor for $200 after they couldn't figure out how to use it and "had no idea how much work a wood stove really is". They put in a $Megabuck Jotul gas/propane unit and it sits as a nice plant stand for almost all of the time, except when they lose power and need some back-up heat.

    The VCs aren't for those that aren't willing to learn how to use them, and they have lot's of parts. overfiring can cause big $$ parts replacement issues.

    This year I put a new combustor in it, and it is a great little stove. (For me) I fill it before bedtime about 10:00PM and have a bed of hot coals in the morning. I love the top feed, and it's a nice size and puts on a nice mellow light show for me, even though it's in the family room downstairs.

    So now I'm looking for a Fireview for the living room to replace a 35 year old Smoke Dragon and I'll be stylin'. :)
    OldLumberKid and milleo like this.
  20. slindo

    slindo Member

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    The demise and ultimate death of a once-great company is never fun to watch, even if you no longer have any of its products. We just went though it with poor Saab. In the end, GM was willing to pretty much give the company away, just to get it off their hands, and sold it to a tiny car maker who it was very clear didn't have a chance in hell of making a go of it.
    OldLumberKid likes this.
  21. OldLumberKid

    OldLumberKid Feeling the Heat

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    Drat. The Montpelier was one I had my eye on. Well the whole project is delayed a year now, anyway, but hopefully this will end well instead of like Saab.

    (Our old Saab 900S lasted 26+ years and was still a workable, although expensive, project for an enthusiast when we donated it.)
  22. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    Wish I had the money, hire some hippies, down size and simplify. Bring back a great brand.
    Defiant and begreen like this.
  23. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Wish you could too. Welcome back buddy, good to see ya.
  24. Oldhippie

    Oldhippie Minister of Fire

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    I was on a small road trip with my family back in the early 80s when VC was booming. We stopped in Bethel VT and the area was hopping and thriving. I think there was a large VC foundry there (I could be mistaken, but I think someone mentioned that to me in a restaurant).

    I ride through there now every year, on my way up to Wells River via RT 107 to VT Rt 110 through Tunbridge where there is a fabulous country fair every year. Motorcycle Nirvana.. but the economy is not what it was back then when VC was going strong.

    And, yeah.. they are all old hippies up there.. and nothing wrong with that. :)
  25. Ted Blodgett

    Ted Blodgett New Member

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    The hippies are already working there. And the facilities do have huge potential for someone that knows what to do with it.
    OldLumberKid and begreen like this.

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