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Hayes Brakes Has a New Owner
A management buyout of Hayes Brake LLC, a worldwide leader in the design, testing, manufacture and sales of non-automotive custom-engineered brake systems, has created HB Performance Systems, Inc.

Although details of the private sale were not disclosed, the company's current and local nine-member management team has purchased the business with Nautic Partners, a private equity firm, from The Brenlin Group Inc., of Akron, Ohio. The deal was finalized June 10 and included financing by M&I Bank, LaSalle Bank and Chase Bank in Milwaukee.

The company will continue to design and manufacture custom brake systems for the motorcycle, bicycle, power sports and off-road markets, with plans to expand into related businesses that supply these markets. Among its blue-chip customers are: Arctic Cat, Decathlon, Caterpillar, Giant, Harley-Davidson, John Deere, Kona, Polaris, Simplicity, Specialized, Trek, and Textron.

HB Performance Systems considers itself a unique organization. Its management team and employees are enthusiasts for the products (motorcycles, bicycles, snowmobiles, ATVs and construction/ag equipment) for which their systems are a part. They know every aspect of the products they design and manufacture. Most importantly, they know how their products perform, because they spend not only work time, but also leisure time riding and operating those vehicles.

"Our fundamental business objective of delivering high quality, technologically advanced product on time and at a competitive cost to our customers will not waver in the least with this change in ownership," said Rand McNally, president & CEO. "As a matter of fact, having local control over business decisions will make us that much more responsive to our customers and the market."

Net revenue for the company was nearly $100 million in 2004 and the company plans to grow in the future as fast as it has in recent years. Since 2000, the company has doubled in size. According to McNally, the decision to rename the company HB Performance Systems, Inc., better reflects the scope of the business, now and in the future. The company is known for highly engineered brakes for extreme environments, but over the past five years, it also has branched into manufacturing a variety of products and accessories.

McNally, who led the buyout team, joined Hayes Brake in 2000 and will continue to lead the company.

In addition to the new corporate name of HB Performance Systems, Inc., the company has formally named its business divisions: Hayes Bicycle Group, HB Motorcycle Group, HB Powersports Group and HB Specialty Products Group.

"Our new ownership group includes leadership from every product division and each operational group of the company," said McNally. "This is a very experienced, hands-on, leadership team that has worked together successfully for many years. Their offices are just steps away from the research labs and the manufacturing plant."

The local ownership team includes: McNally; Rod Fostner, chief financial officer; Russ Dudan, vice president of innovation and advanced development; Jim Ferrero, vice president and general manager of the HB Motorcycle Group; Laura Johnston, vice president of human resources; Rhonda Kirkwood, vice president and general manager of the Hayes Bicycle Group; Peter Nelson, vice president and general manager of the Powersports and Specialty Products Groups; Scott Payne, vice president of operations; and John Warczak, vice president of materials and systems.

The company was started in Milwaukee in 1946. Since 1969, the corporate headquarters has been located in Mequon, Wis., where it employs 350 people in its 155,000 square foot modern manufacturing facility. It also has manufacturing and sourcing capabilities in Asia. It currently holds 25 patents with 20 more in process. It uses a unique lean enterprise system for manufacturing and assembly, and is supported by ISO 9001:2000 quality controls and the latest Advance Product Quality Planning (APQP) techniques. The company's many years of experience and development in the field have led to a comprehensive range of products for recreational, construction, agricultural and military vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles, as well as other types of mobile and stationary equipment.

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