“ClearLight quickly understood that we knew how to effectively grow and manage our business and as such we have not had to spend a significant amount of time with them reviewing our day-to-day management decisions.”
In 2005, ClearLight made a majority investment in Switchcraft, a designer and manufacturer of high-performance electronic connectors, cable assemblies and other value-added products and systems used in diverse applications in the global electronics industry. With a basic line of over 5,000 standard products and thousands of variations, Switchcraft markets products both domestically and internationally through a network of manufacturers’ representatives and independent distributors.
According to Ketih Bandolik, CEO of Switchcraft, “ My partner Dave Dunmead and I have been running Switchcraft together for nearly twenty years under both corporate and private equity ownership. One of the reasons we elected to establish a partnership with ClearLight was the significant experience their deal team possessed in working with middle market manufacturing companies like ours. They quickly understood that we knew how to effectively grow and manage our business and as such we have not had to spend a significant amount of time with them reviewing our day-to-day management decisions. They have had a “light touch” in their oversight which we appreciate and this has allowed us to maximize our time building value for all shareholders.”
“On the other hand, they have been of great assistance in developing an expanded equity program that included more of our managers with a mechanism that aligns the interests of management and ownership at the Company more effectively than at any time in the last twenty years. Recently, they also provided significant help and counsel in Switchcraft’s successful defense of a patent infringement claim in federal court brought by one of our competitors.”
Under ClearLight’s ownership, Switchcraft expanded its leadership position in the connector industry with good organic growth during our hold period. The company augmented its capabilities by bringing on a talented marketing head and refined the strategy through a robust planning process. ClearLight collaborated with management to ensure strong profitability during the 2009 recession, but kept the resources in place to allow the Company to generate very strong growth during the economic recovery. ClearLight enjoyed a successful partnership with senior management and successfully sold the business in 2011 to HEICO Corporation, a publicly-traded company with headquarters in Florida that is focused on the aviation, defense, space, medical, telecommunication and electronic industries.