PE-Backed Merger in the Thermoformed Sector

Penda Corp., a Portage, Wis.-based maker of thermoformed solutions, has agreed to merge with Durakon Industries Inc., a provider of thermoformed automotive components. No financial terms were disclosed. Penda is a portfolio company of Resilience Capital Partners, while Durakon is a portfolio company of Littlejohn & Co. Both private equity firms will be the shareholders of the combined company. 



Penda Corporation, a manufacturer and marketer of innovative, high-quality thermoformed solutions, and Durakon Industries, Inc., a supplier of advanced thermoformed automotive components, have announced plans to merge. The name of the new entity will be Penda Corporation, with headquarters in Portage, Wis.


Combining the organizations’ core competencies, capacities and complementary channels to market will create a leading heavy-gauge thermoformer with a strong technology base, sufficient capacity for future growth and diversified market participation, according to Ulf Buergel, president and chief executive officer of Penda Corporation. The two companies operate facilities in Portage, Wis., Lapeer, Mich., and Lerma, Mexico. “Both companies have proprietary, state-of-the-art technologies. The merger will allow us to make these technologies and unique expertise available to customers within our core market, the automotive industry, as well as other target markets,” Buergel said. “We will structure the company around three market-facing strategic business units to ensure customer focus.”


One of the strategic business units, Penda Automotive Components, will serve automotive original equipment manufacturers as a Tier I supplier of thermoformed components such as the cargo management systems for the GM Avalanche and Honda Ridgeline pick-up trucks. Durakon has developed a strong position as a supplier of thermoformed components to automotive OEMs. The new Automotive Components business unit will build on this success and develop new applications based on the company’s expanded technology portfolio.


The second strategic business unit, Penda Automotive Accessories, will focus on automotive aftermarket products such as pick-up truck bedliners, tonneau covers and other accessories. The Automotive Accessories business unit will serve independent aftermarket warehouse distributors and retailers as well as OEM service and parts organizations.


The third business unit, Penda Premier Solutions, will serve as a custom thermoformer for a variety of industrial applications. Penda’s strategic focus for Premier Solutions has been on covers and hoods for lawn and garden and agricultural equipment as well as water management applications. Durakon has developed applications for commercial vehicles. Combining the two teams will create economies of scale and a range of technologies that will accelerate the growth of this business, both in new and existing markets. Penda Premier Solutions will also serve the growing range of customers who rely on Penda’s innovative SmartDitch(TM) thermoformed channel/ditch-lining system.


Common to the strategic business units will be an unsurpassed foundation of state-of-the-art technologies, according to Buergel. “Penda and Durakon are well known for innovation and high-quality products, and that will not change,” he said. “We will offer the most cost-effective solutions for any heavy-gauge thermoforming application and will continue to replace metal or fiberglass parts with lightweight, recyclable thermoplastic components.”


Penda owner Resilience Capital Partners, a private equity firm headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, and Durakon owner Littlejohn & Co. LLC, a private equity firm headquartered in Greenwich, Conn., will be the shareholders of the combined company. Details of the transaction were not disclosed.