Eagle Merchant Partners

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Eagle Merchant Partners and JLM invest in Recreational Group

Eagle Merchant Partners and JLM Financial Partners have closed their investment in the Recreational Group, a leading provider of residential and commercial recreational surfacing products across the country.

The move capitalises on the rapidly-growing artificial turf and sports surfacing industry, with products used across a wide range of markets and customers. Founded in 1998, Recreational Group has grown to more than USD45 million in sales through strategic acquisitions and organic growth. The recreational surfacing industry has become more popular as it is environmentally sustainable, affordable and maintenance free, which has driven both residential and commercial uses. It allows families to spend more time together in their backyards and less time working in the yard, and allows places such as early childhood development centres and schools to have versatile, safe and trouble-free play areas.

“Partnering with Eagle/JLM allows Recreational Group to aggressively pursue organic and acquisitional growth,” says Steve White, Founding Partner and Executive Chairman, Recreational Group. “We’ve built a strong foundation for success across all our divisions and now have the financial resources to pursue opportunities as they are presented. Importantly, the architecture of this deal offers our employees no disruption, and room for personal advancement within the organization as we continue to grow.”

“This is a rapidly growing industry, and because of the leadership of Steve White and Ron Bennett and the experience and resources our partnership brings to the table, Recreational Group is poised to continue to lead the market and expand,” says Jeff Ezell, Managing Director, JLM Financial Partners. “This senior management team is among the best in the business. That continuity makes this deal the ultimate win-win.”

“The fragmented recreational surfacing space needs a consolidator to bring consistent quality and service to the market,” says Recreational Group President and CEO Ron Bennett. “I look forward to utilising the Recreational Group platform and working with Eagle/JLM to bring smart consolidation of the best suppliers and operators we can find. Among our strengths are adding value through capitalisation, marketing, back office and expanded networks for smaller operators.”

The investment from Eagle and JLM will provide capital to fuel continued organic growth through new equipment, enhanced sales and marketing efforts, and continue to build out the management team, systems and infrastructure to support the expanding organisation. Additionally, Recreational Group’s capitalisation and scale will provide the opportunity for acquisitive growth in contiguous geographies, end markets and products.

“We made our investment based on the opportunities in the tile and turf market, and our confidence in the RG management team and the organisation they have built,” says Bill Lundstrom, Partner, Eagle Merchant Partners. “We will be looking for add-on acquisitions in the recreational surfacing and products space to complement the company’s momentum.”

Financing for Recreational Group was provided by SunTrust and PNC Erieview.

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