Frisco Shop Eyes Industrial Tubing Company


Sponsor: Industrial Growth Partners

Seller: Robert O’Brien

Industrial Growth Partners is poised to purchase O’Brien Corp., a St. Louis-based maker and marketer of heavy duty tubes and other heat exchange equipment used in the energy industry, according to a government filing.

O’Brien Corp. looks like a natural fit for Industrial Growth Partners, which targets manufacturing companies and has an affinity for makers of industrial components and equipment. Another portfolio company, Buffalo, N.Y.-based API Heat Transfer Inc., provides similar products used in such fields as chemical processing, dairy, food and beverage, power generation, and pharmaceuticals, among others. The firm’s targets usually generate annual revenue between $30 million and $100 million.

O’Brien Corp. changed its name to OBCORP LLC in October, but still goes by the previous moniker on its Web site. The company, founded in 1961, makes industrial tubing as well as protective enclosures, floor stands, wall mounts, and cabinet heaters. Robert O’Brien, the company’s president, is listed as the seller in the government filing.

As part of the deal Industrial Growth Partners would also inherit Cardinal UHP LLC, a 26-year-old St. Louis-based unit of O’Brien Corp. that makes piping components used in the semiconductor, pharmaceutical, food processing, biotechnology, and telecommunications industries. Partners at Industrial Growth Partners and representatives for O’Brien Corp. did not return requests for comment.

Industrial Growth Partners’s most recent acquisition came in September, when it bought Xaloy Inc., a New Castle, Pa.-based company that makes machinery and components for the plastics industry, from Baird Capital Partners for an undisclosed amount. Partners Michael Beaumont, Gottfried Titteger and Patrick Forster founded Industrial Growth in 1997. The firm, which has 13 investment advisors, has invested $1.2 billion since its inception and completed more than 135 debt and equity transactions totaling more than $30 billion.

If the deal closes, the San Francisco-based mid-market shop would make the investment out of Industrial Growth Partners III LP, a $400 million fund it closed in December 2006.