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Updated: September 12, 2023

Brunswick manufacturer STARC Systems gets new private equity owner

Man in factory Photo / Courtesy STARC Systems Chris Vickers, president and CEO of STARC Systems, says the company plans to make more than 15 new hires this year. The Brunswick-based manufacturer currently has over 80 employees, including 70 in Maine.

STARC Systems, a Brunswick-based manufacturer of clean barriers used by hospitals during construction, has a new owner.

After a transaction announced Tuesday, North Branch Capital, a private equity firm based in Oak Brook, Ill., is the company’s new majority owner. There also was significant reinvestment by STARC’s management team and founder Tim Hebert, a Mainebiz Business Leader of the Year in 2020.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

North Branch is buying its stake from Richmond, Va.-based Blue Heron Capital, which invested $3.5 million in STARC Systems in 2017.

“With our initial investment partner, Blue Heron Capital, exceeding their goals within their investment window, we began looking for a new partner who would be able to support our ambitious growth goals,” Chris Vickers, president and CEO of STARC Systems, told Mainebiz.

In February 2023, the company began conversations with several potential buyers, he said. 

“However, North Branch provided the opportunity for STARC Systems to both remain an independent Maine company and gain greater investment and expertise from a firm that is focused on both accelerating growth and building strong companies,” Vickers noted.

Leadership continuity 

Vickers will continue in his role as president and CEO under the new ownership and join the board of directors.

While North Branch will be part of the board of directors, the private equity firm will not play a day-to-day role in the business.

North Branch Capital typically invests in industrial businesses in the United States and Canada with revenue between $10 million and $75 million, and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $2 million to $8 million.

Brian Gleason, operating partner at North Branch Capital, said his company invests in middle-market industrial businesses with strong growth prospects and leadership teams.

"STARC is well-positioned to continue its growth in this emerging category. Since its founding, the organization has developed a keen focus on innovation, providing an excellent value proposition to its customer base, and building a world-class culture," he added. 

Hiring plans 

STARC Systems, which is based at Brunswick Landing, has a workforce of more than 80 employees, including 70 in Maine.

“With the new investment and our growth plans, we will be hiring over 15 more team members across sales, marketing, manufacturing and administration by the end of 2024,” Vickers said.

For advice on the deal with North Branch Capital, STARC turned to Dickinson Williams & Co, a Richmond, Va.-based investment bank; Robinson+Cole, a law firm with New England offices in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island; and Portland-based accounting firm Baker Newman Noyes.

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