Trivest Climbs Onto Playground Platform –

Trivest swung into the new year with the acquisition of Superior International Industries, a manufacturer and distributor of commercial playground equipment and components, based in Carrollton, Ga.

Derek McDowell, a managing director at Trivest, declined to provide the value of the transaction, but said his firm’s equity commitment was less than $50 million. Key Bank and LaSalle Bank provided senior bank financing.

Miami-based Trivest has other portfolio companies involved in the formation of plastic products, but Superior creates many of its products through rotational molding – an area Trivest has not been in since it sold Norwesco, a manufacturer of rotationally molded polyethylene tanks for the agricultural and septic markets, in 1998.

Mainly, Trivest was interested in the playground industry, McDowell said.

“We found it to be attractive given the demographics of increasing numbers of kids between the ages of two and 12,” he said. “There’s also an expansion within the childcare network for daycare centers building playground infrastructures.”

Superior has a range of products that McDowell said Trivest could not find in other playground companies. The company markets its products under the Childworks, Grounds For Play and Playland brands. It has been growing 15% to 25% per year for the past few years, McDowell said.

Playground equipment manufacturing is at least one industry where increasing government regulation favors general partners. Due to increased regulations to make the equipment handicap accessible and all-around safer, there is significant rebuilding going on in the industry, McDowell said.

Trivest plans to expand Superior geographically and with new product development.

McDowell declined to provide revenue information on the company.