Office furniture companies, responding to innovations, ramp up operations

July 3, 2013 – Crain’s Business Journal

As office furniture makers and their supply chains have recovered from the recession, corporate valuations have also seen improvement, industry advisers said. That reversal of fortunes has mergers and acquisitions activity heating up — which led The Charter Group, a Grand Rapids-based M&A advisory firm, to launch a dedicated furniture industry practice, said Managing Partner John Kerschen.

The availability of cheap debt and the willingness of banks to work with acquirers and sellers on the transactions are also having a positive impact on merger activity, Kerschen said. The restoration of top-line growth and improved operating margins are pushing valuations on office furniture companies upward, Kerschen said.

“They’re not through the roof by any means, but they are nicely improving,” he said. “And debt is much more available today.” While deals are available, Kerschen said, the market still does not have enough supply to meet the demands of buyers. more

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