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Universal Forest Products Acquires NEPA Pallet & Container
Large, publicly-traded forest products conglomerate buys NEPA Pallet for its agricultural business.
By Jeff McBee and Chaille Brindley
Date Posted: 12/1/2012
One of the oldest if not the oldest pallet companies in the country recently changed hands when Universal Forest Products of Grand Rapids, Mich. bought NEPA Pallet & Container. The two companies had been in talks for a long-time but the numbers never quite worked out until the most recent deal. NEPA was attractive to Universal Forest Products because of its large agricultural business, especially its bin operation in Yakima, Wash. The acquisition allows Universal to expand its industrial business and gain a foothold in the Pacific Northwest, two of the Company’s strategic goals.
NEPA has been a pallet industry leader for years. The owners, Pat Sherry and his father Denton – who bought NEPA Pallet in June of 1987 – came into the pallet business from the fishing industry. The company grew considerably under the leadership of the Sherry family. That leadership also was shared with the pallet industry as Pat is a former chair of the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association board of directors as well as having served multiple terms as president of the Western Pallet Association.
Seeing the growing potential for pallet rental, Pat and Denton launched PECO Pallet in 1997 as the industry’s response to CHEP. PECO grew and was eventually taken over by larger institutional investors. The Sherry’s leadership has helped NEPA grow, and it sold to Universal Forest Products from a position of strength not weakness. NEPA’s facilities in Snohomish, Yakima and Wenatchee, generated sales in the trailing twelve months of approximately $25 million.
“In its 75 years, NEPA has built a strong reputation as a solid manufacturer with great customer service. Its employees are loyal and dedicated, which is consistent with our culture,” said Matthew J. Missad, chief executive officer of Universal Forest Products, Inc. “We look forward to adding NEPA and its people to the Universal family of companies, and growing with them in a territory that’s important to Universal’s future and success,” said Missad.
Pat Sherry is excited about working for Universal and the opportunities that it provides, “We’re pleased to join the Universal family and to give our employees the opportunity to grow with an industry powerhouse,” he said.
Pat Sherry will remain with the company as general manager of operations. The company will continue to do business on the NEPA name. The acquisition was finalized in November.
Universal Forest Products is a publicly traded company on NASDAQ exchange. It is one of the nation’s largest manufacturers and distributors of wood and wood-alternative products to the retail building materials, industrial packaging/components, manufactured housing, residential construction and commercial construction & concrete forming markets. It has a large agricultural business and is looking to grow that segment. Its product line includes wooden stakes, agricultural fencing, bins, packaging, display components and animal bedding.