M-D Building Products Inc. provides essential weatherproofing products for residential homeowners—basic DIY offerings that help position the company itself to be somewhat impervious to economic fluctuations in the broader economy.
Continued demand for weather seals for windows, door and garages is a main reason that private equity firm Cyprium Partners, which makes non-control investments in profitable midsize companies, took an undisclosed stake in July 2015.
“(Weather stripping) is something that is a reasonably low price point but it’s necessary,” says Beth Haas, a Cyprium partner who sits on the Oklahoma City-based company’s board. “They’ve figured out how to really merchandise it and lay it out in a way that makes it easy for the consumer to figure out what they need.”
Cyprium’s portfolio includes investment in other construction and building-related businesses, including BackYard Products, a maker of residential woodsheds and playsets; and Weaber Lumber, which offers flooring and other hardwood lumber products.
Haas says M-D has refreshed long-time staples, which besides weather stripping include flooring thresholds, plumbing and pipe insulation and aluminum sheeting with new formulations and easier application, while leading the category through strong merchandising and consumer education.
“What they’ve done is really take in a product line that’s been around for a hundred years and through some different technology and adhesive make it a lot more user friendly and easier to install—as we’ve all collectively gotten less handy,” Haas says. “A lot of their products are a lot more user friendly.”
With the help of Cyprium’s capital infusion, M-D Products is now on the lookout for add-on acquisitions that can help it achieve greater scale, she says.
“This was an opportunity to invest directly into a family-owned business that was really poised for a lot of growth and had a lot of strategic opportunities ahead of them—and hopefully us,” Haas says.
By Deborah L. Cohen