Chicago equity firm buys Soddy-Daisy manufacturer

Chicago equity firm buys Soddy-Daisy manufacturer

October 8th, 2018 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

In this 2000 staff file photo, Edro Harris assembles a side matcher machine at the Hasko Machinery Co. plant in Red Bank before the facility moved to Soddy-Daisy Industrial Park.

Photo by Staff File Photo /Times Free Press.

A Soddy-Daisy manufacturer of machinery used in the wood flooring and wood cutting industries is getting a new owner and CEO.

Hasko Inc., which began in 1930 as R.K. Haskew and Co., and has grown into a premier maker of wood cutting equipment to make wooden floors, has been acquired by the Chicago-based private equity firm Iron Range Capital.

Hasko is now headed by Randy Brooks, the grandson of company founder R.K. Haskew. In 1988, Brooks turned the business from a broker for selling and fixing other company's machinery into a manufacturer of its own equipment.

Randy Brooks

Randy Brooks

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

As part of the business sale, Brooks will remain on the board and retain an ownership stake in Hasko. But the company will be headed by Cathy Boettner, the former owner and president of Cleveland Tubing who sold her Cleveland, Tennessee manufacturer of corrugated pipe and tubing to Euromax International.

Boettner, who has been a consultant to Brooks, will become CEO of Hasko and oversee its staff of about 40 employees at the Hasko facility on Industrial Park Drive in Soddy Daisy.

Cathy Boettner

Cathy Boettner

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

"When I took over the company as a third-generation owner, I had a vision of transforming Hasko from a used equipment dealer into a manufacturer of highly engineered production equipment," Brooks said in a statement announcing the sale. "I am very proud of the successful legacy and reputation that my management team and employees have built over the years — to the point that Hasko is the recognized leader in our industry. I wanted a buyer that could help take our company to the next level, and that shared our beliefs about the right way to treat customers and employees."

Brooks engaged FourBridges Capital Advisors, a Chattanooga-based broker and consulting firm, to advise Brooks in making the ownership transition. Andy Stockett, a managing partner for Four Bridges, said Hasko attracted global interest among potential buyers.

The buyers will keep the company and its staff in Soddy-Daisy, and Brooks will remain a partial owner and director, under the new leadership of Boettner.

"Iron Range Capital is delighted to remain partners with Randy, and we look forward to working alongside Cathy to accelerate Hasko's revenue growth and profitability," said Gary Stark, the managing partner of Iron Range.

Hasko provides material handling and cutting, chopping and sawing systems to the largest producers of wood flooring worldwide. Management estimates that there are over 400 Hasko systems currently in operation.

Chris Rowe, another managing director of Four Bridges, said the sale is typical how his firm works with family-owned businesses "to achieve their personal and financial objectives when they are ready to make a transition. It was a pleasure to provide that service to Randy and his team," Rowe said.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6340.