May River Capital Acquires Hunt Valve in Salem

SALEM, Ohio – A Chicago investment firm has acquired a longtime manufacturer here and plans to expand its business, officers say.

Hunt Valve Inc., which has operated here nearly 100 years, was acquired by May River Capital in mid-November, the company announced Monday. Terms were not disclosed.

Brad Sterner, the new president and CEO of Hunt Valve, said that the company’s history of supplying “severe-duty” valves to the metals industry and clients such as the U.S. Navy provides a foundation for expansion in these markets as well as in other industries such as energy, transportation, and oil and gas processing.

“We think there’s significant opportunities for us to relaunch and reintroduce ourselves in the industrial space in the primary metals processing,” Sterner said. “There’s also applications that Hunt has touched on the past but hasn’t developed – energy and chemical processing. We think the industrial side is attractive.”

The company designs and engineers severe-duty valves, that is, valves that operate in harsh environments such as on deep-water nuclear submarines. The plant operates at 1913 E. State St.

“Our primary applications are in nuclear power submarines and aircraft carriers, and these are two very large investment groups that the Navy is pursuing,” Sterner said.

This is especially evident with the launch of the Virginia class attack submarine and the Ford class aircraft carriers, programs in which Hunt Valve will be involved. “We see growth in the existing core U.S. Navy market as well as a relaunch into the industrial market,” he elaborated.

Hunt Valve employs more than 50 here and has plans to eventually add more. “We have developed a group of supply chain partners in Ohio,” Sterner said, “so as the business grows, we expect not only to grow here but also in those supply-chain partners.”

Hunt has purchased new machining equipment the last two years, the CEO said, and its core platform fits the May River strategy of building a portfolio of similar companies. Hunt is the fourth such business May River has acquired.

Mayor John Berlin said that it’s important for long-standing companies such as Hunt to attract new investment if they are to grow.

“Hunt Valve has a long history here,” Berlin said in a statement, “and we’re gratified that to see its new owners recognize the strength of our community and have committed to invest in an expansion of their product line which will create additional good-paying jobs.”

May River Capital is a lower middle market private investment firm that commits its own capital to work with partners who take an equity stake. The company invests in industrial companies that show potential for growth and expansion.

“I partnered with May River Capital to invest in this company, to buy Hunt Valve, which we closed in the middle of November,” Sterner says. “Hunt is the perfect example of the type of companies we’re looking for as we develop our platform. We see the opportunity to re-introduce ourselves to the industrial market.”

Pictured: Brad Sterner, the new president and CEO of Hunt Valve, holds a valve produced at the Salem plant.

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