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March 11, 2016

Connecticut equity firm scoops up Portland manufacturer

Nichols Portland, the sixth-largest private employer in Maine’s most populated city, has been sold to a Connecticut-based investment firm.

Altus Capital Partners of Wilton, Conn., along with investments from the management team of Nichols Portland, purchased the mechanical gear manufacturer for an undisclosed amount. Nichols manufactures gears for pumps in car, motorcycle and diesel engines, including transmission fluid pumps — its parts are even found in all new Harley-Davidson motorcycles, according to the Portland Press Herald.

Rick Izor, the former general manager of Nichols and now president of the firm, told the Press Herald that Nichols was a good fit for the Altus roster, because it invests in medium-sized manufacturing companies.

In addition to manufacturing and selling gears and “smart” electronic pumps that are used as a fuel pump in diesel engines for heavy construction vehicles and tractors, Nichols also makes gerotors, a part used to make pumps lighter and more efficient.

“We recognize and value management’s depth of capabilities along with the company’s exceptional technological advancements, which has earned Nichols Portland its industry leadership position,” Russell Greenberg, managing partner of Altus Capital, said in a prepared statement announcing the purchase.

Nichols currently employs 373 people at its manufacturing plant at 2400 Congress St. Izor told the Press Herald that it will maintain that level of employees immediately following the purchase, but as its product line increases, more hirings are likely.

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