Elkhart, Ind.-based Forest River Inc., the nation’s second leading RV towable manufacturer, has expanded into the manufactured housing industry with the purchase of Hart Housing Group Inc., Wakarusa, Ind.
Forest River President Pete Liegl said the deal had been finalized in late June. He did not disclose the amount. The Wakarusa firm, which will become Forest River Housing, currently has 280 employees and is expected to generate $30 million in sales this year, according to Liegl.
“We’ll be doing some restructuring in upper management, but we’re not looking for any cutbacks in sales and production,” he said, noting that operations will remain based in Wakarusa, where there is about 280,000 square feet of manufacturing space. “In fact, we’re making plans to add another plant in the Goshen (Ind.) area and will be looking for additional manufacturing and salespeople.”
Liegl said there “were a lot of components” that led to the acquisition, including similar business cultures and an expected incremental rise in the prime interest rate.
“They build manufactured housing and modular homes,” he said. “We’re going to concentrate on two-story modulars. When interest rates go up, modulars seem to do well. And the people that are currently in modular homes aren’t doing that bad.”
In addition to RV and now manufactured housing, Forest River is involved in the marine, bus, commercial vehicle, commercial structure and cargo-trailer industries. According to Liegel, Forest River’s 62 facilities occupy 4,460,000 square feet.
He said the company would exceed $1 billion in revenues for the current fiscal year, which ends in September.