Mason firm buys Butler County metal stamping company

Mason-based holding company C.M. Paula Co. completed another in a string of recent acquisitions, adding a Fairfield metal stamping firm to its diverse portfolio.

Steve Watkins, DBJ Contributor

Jun 1, 2012, 6:00am EDT

It completed the deal to acquire Art Technologies Inc. May 18 for an undisclosed price, marking its sixth acquisition in the past seven years. The acquisition is a departure for the fast-growing C.M. Paula, whose three other business lines focus on consumer products and generate about $30 million in annual revenue. It sales have jumped sixfold since 2005, when it shifted to the holding company format it uses now.

But Art Technologies diversifies its revenue stream and fits the mold it seeks.

“We like companies that have been around, with a management team in place,” C.M. Paula CEO Greg Ionna said. “We were looking to diversify into a few different industries, and manufacturing was one. Ownership had taken it to a certain level, and it needed our capital to grow further.”

Unlike many investment firms that buy companies to expand and sell them, C.M. Paula has a different goal.

“Our philosophy is to buy it, grow it and hold it,” Ionna said. “We want to invest to grow, not just to harvest the business.”

That attitude attracted Art Technologies owner Carl Pfirrmann. He retired in 2006 but still maintained oversight. He was looking to sell so he could fully retire, Pfirrmann said. He liked C.M. Paula’s model of keeping acquired companies intact, leaving management in place and infusing capital to spur growth.

Art Technologies will keep all of its 32 employees and operate as usual, said Robb McCoy, Art Technologies’ president. It makes hinges, bearings and other metal parts for use by manufacturers of autos, trucks and agricultural equipment, among others.

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