Lincolnshire Grows Potted Plant Platform

Buyer: Lincolnshire Management Inc.

Target: Desch-Plantpak, Summit Plastic Co. and Janor Pot LLC

Financial Advisor: Seller: Atlas Advisors

Lincolnshire Management Inc. has planted seeds for further growth in the plant container industry, hoping a better distribution system will sprout better returns for its platform.

In an unusual deal that involved buying two companies—one here and one in Europe—plus the U.S.-based joint venture of those two companies, Lincolnshire bought Netherlands-based Desch-Plantpak, Akron, Ohio-based Summit Plastic Co. and Akron-based joint venture JanorPot. A deal price wasn’t disclosed.

The companies make thermoformed plastic containers and trays for the greenhouse industry. Desch-Plantpak is a leader in containers and trays in Europe, Summit is known for the Duo-brand pots and handlers it makes here, and JanorPot is a hybrid of the two, making and marketing more than 20 different-sized round pots.

The sales of the three new businesses together are about $100 million, and the combined entity has sales of more than $200 million. These assets join together with Lincolnshire’s larger plant container maker Nursery Supplies Inc., which it bought in May. It was during the process to buy Nursery Supplies that Lincolnshire became familiar with Desch-Plantpak, Summit and JanorPot.

Allan Weinstein, a managing director at Lincolnshire, said the latest assets acquired have strong distribution network in Europe, whereas the original platform, Nursery Supplies, has a better network here. Cross-using those networks, business should fertilize growth for the combined companies on both continents, he said.

Weinstein said the buyout is part of a few different macro trends. First, there is an aging population, and older people tend to garden more. Second, there is overall population growth and home ownership, which makes for more people gardening, period. “We have a variety of ideas for acquisitions, but all in the early planning stages,” said Weinstein.

Funds for the deal came from 2004-raised Lincolnshire Equity Fund III, a $415 million fund. —M.C.