Jul 20, 2023

Argosy buys outdoor furniture, traffic control products maker Barco

After nearly four decades under control of the company's founder, a maker of outdoor furniture using plastic lumber has a new majority owner.

Argosy Private Equity has acquired a majority interest in Barco Products Co. of Batavia, Ill., the private equity firm said.

Barco was founded in 1984 by Cyril Matter, who lists himself as CEO and owner of the company in his LinkedIn profile. The company makes a wide variety of products under four brand names — TreeTop Products, Barco Products, Kirby Built Products and Barco Canada.

The company's lineup includes commercial outdoor furniture, including benches and tables, as well as traffic safety products. Many of the products use lumber made from recycled plastics.

Both Matter and Argosy could be reached for comment Aug. 9, but the investment firm issued a statement regarding acquisition of controlling interest in the firm.

"Barco has been transforming outdoor spaces across the nation, from parks to school yards to facilities everywhere. In addition, the traffic safety and control product segment has been growing rapidly," said Michael Bailey, a partner at Argosy, in the statement.

"The company's unique product offerings across its four brands and deep commitment to customer service have contributed to its success over the past 35+ years, which we will strive to build on alongside management through execution of strategic initiatives," he said.

Argosy views Barco Products as a growth platform.

"Key aspects of the value creation plan include geographical expansion, evaluating and executing add-on acquisitions to help create value, and coordinating sales and marketing campaigns to reach new customers," the private investment firm said in announcing the acquisition.

Argosy seeks to invest in what it calls "lower middle market niche manufacturing and business-to-business services companies that have a substantial ability to grow."

Barco joins Reed City Group of Reed City, Mich., in Argosy's portfolio of businesses. Argosy, which has owned Reed City Group since 2017, describes that company as a "full-scale mold building, press manufacturing, and injection molding business."

The Wayne, Pa.-based investment firm's portfolio also includes the company that franchises Rita's Italian ice and custard locations.

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