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Viking Range acquired

BY Brae Canlen

The Middleby Corp. has purchased Viking Range Corp. for $380 million in cash. Headquartered in Greenwood, Miss., Viking is a leading manufacturer of high-end residential cooking ranges, ovens and kitchen appliances. Annual revenues are approximately $200 million

“This acquisition strategically positions Middleby as a leading manufacturer in the sector with a top brand,” said Selim Bassoul, chairman and CEO of the Middleby Corp. “The acquisition of Viking allows us to integrate our own patented technologies that will have a huge appeal to consumers for their residential kitchens. These technologies include speed cooking, induction and truvection.”

The current Middleby brands TurboChef, Jade and MagiKitch’n all have residential platforms that will integrate well with Viking, according to Bassoul. “We are combining leading commercial cooking companies with a leading residential cooking company. We are so excited to take what we’ve learned from the professional chef and bring it to the residential chef,” he continued.

“Our goal is to expand this new residential platform using the same strategy in which we have successfully developed our commercial foodservice and food processing businesses,” Bassoul continued. “This expansion would include growth through future acquisitions, new product introductions and leveraging the current Middleby global sales, service and distribution infrastructure to introduce Viking products in emerging markets.”

Viking was owned by the Stephens Group, a private equity firm.

On a Jan. 2 conference call with investors, Bassoul also discussed domestic growth in the sales of luxury ranges, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

“We believe that the U.S. housing market is now really growing,” Bassoul said. That growth, plus kitchen renovations, should spur sales of professional style cooking equipment, he added. Viking ranges start around $3,000 and can sell as high as $8.000.

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Grill manufacturer changes name

BY Brae Canlen

Monessen Hearth Systems Co., a manufacturer of outdoor grills, fireplaces and other heating products, has changed its names to Vermont Castings Group. Under the new name, the company will continue to grow and support its four brands: Vermont Castings, Majestic, Monessen and Ambient Technologies.

“Changing our name will help us leverage the heritage of our iconic Vermont Castings brand to generate growth for our full portfolio of industry leading brands and product lines,” said Dan Clifford, president and CEO of Vermont Castings Group. “We were green long before green was in, and we are proud that our products are manufactured in the USA.”

The overall structure, size and organization of the company remain the same, with headquarters remaining in Paris, Ky. No personnel changes are expected as a result of the corporate name change, according to the announcement.

Vermont Castings Group is a supplier of hearth and grill products throughout North and South America, Asia and Europe. Under its four brands, the company offers full line of direct vent, natural vent, vent-free, wood-burning and electric fireplaces, inserts, log sets and stoves, as well as outdoor grills and heating products.

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Window makers to face off in hockey game

BY Brae Canlen

An international hockey battle between two window manufacturers is scheduled for Jan. 12, when employees of Marvin Windows and Doors and Loewen Windows will play a game at the Olympic Arena in Warroad, Minn. The event will be refereed by Dave Christian, an NHL All-Star and 1980 Olympic gold medal “Miracle on Ice” team member.

About 90 miles separate Warroad, where Marvin is headquartered, and Steinbach, Manitoba, the hometown of Loewen. A group of Loewen employees will make the trip south to help inaugurate Warroad’s newly remodeled Olympic Arena. The game begins at 4:30 p.m.

There is no charge for admission to the game, but donations will be accepted to raise funds for new tables and seating in the arena lobby. Concession sales at the event also will go toward lobby furnishings, and there will be a raffle of VIP hockey gear and other items.

“We’re happy to invite our friends from Loewen to Warroad, to show them how we play hockey in Minnesota,” said Paul Marvin, director of materials for Marvin Windows and Doors. “All kidding aside, these are two great companies that share a northern heritage and a love of winter sports that crosses national borders. We’ll have players from just about every department and every age range. 

“It will be a fun event to raise money for a worthy cause — and one team will go home with some friendly bragging rights,” Marvin said, adding that there are already plans for a rematch in March on Loewen’s turf.

Despite being a Warroad native, Minnesota hockey legend Christian will be able to referee the game without favoritism, according to the announcement. As quality manager of Cardinal Glass in Fargo, N.D., Christian produces insulated window glass used in both Marvin and Loewen products.

Marvin plant manager and 40-year employee Ron Lund has signed on to manage and coach the Warroad squad.

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