Blackford Capital Builds Michigan Prosperity Fund Portfolio

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Blackford Capital, a private equity capital firm in Grand Rapids, has purchased Grand Haven-based Grand Transformers Inc. as part of the firm’s plan to grow its Michigan Prosperity Fund aimed at reducing the export of capital out of the state.

“This acquisition accomplishes exactly what we set out to do with the fund, which is to provide profitable investment opportunities for our Michigan-based investors, to maintain local ownership of our Michigan companies, and to create jobs in Michigan as we grow GTI,” says Jeff Helminski, managing director of Blackford Capital. “We’ve got very high hopes for what we can do in partnership with the management team there.”

Grand Transformers, founded in 1948, designs and manufactures inductive components including power transformers. The company employs 70 people at its 55,000-square-foot facility in Grand Haven. Ed Smith, formerly the company’s COO, has since been promoted to CEO.

“Blackford Capital brings a wealth of strategic knowledge and financial resources to GTI,” Smith says. “We look forward to working closely with Blackford to grow our existing business, expand into new markets, and add more jobs in the community.”

Since launching the Michigan Prosperity Fund in 2012, Blackford has acquired Grand Rapids-based Custom Profile Inc. and Mopec, a manufacturer of pathology and mortuary equipment based in Oak Park. Custom Profile has grown by at least 25 employees in the past two years, and the company is in the process of making a nearly $1 million capital equipment investment at Mopec, Helminski says.

Looking forward, Helminski expects the firm to add one to three more companies to its portfolio by the end of the year.

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