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SJE, a leading manufacturer of control solutions for the water and wastewater industry, has sold a majority equity interest to Audax Private Equity. The investment from Audax comes as SJE aims for continued growth and expansion within the controls industry.
Founder, Steve Johnston, started S. J. Electro Systems in 1975 after creating the original version of the Tank Alert alarm in his garage. In 1987, Steve decided he wanted to pass the company on to his employees by establishing an Employee Stock Ownership Plan ("ESOP"), allowing employees to share in the successes that they were helping to create.
“For a highly successful employee-owned company, the timing was right for us to transition ownership to ensure the best return for our employees,” said Dave Thomas, president and CEO of SJE. “We had a tremendous opportunity to make the retirement benefit of the ESOP an immediate reality for our team. Following the investment from Audax, we will continue to operate as we have historically, and remain committed to our core values of unity, humility, agility, drive, and ownership.”
Over the past 45 years, SJE has grown significantly, bringing a number of innovative products to the market. SJE currently has seven locations worldwide and nearly 500 employees. In 2020, a year of a global pandemic, SJE had a record year in both sales and profitability.
SJE will look to benefit from the strategic and financial resources Audax brings to their portfolio companies. These resources will help drive investments in the business, support growth strategy, and enable SJE to continue pursuing acquisitions.
“Audax supports strong leadership teams to build companies. We focus on buying and then building market-leading companies that are poised for growth,” said Ryan Bruehlmann, managing director of Audax Private Equity. “We see tremendous value in SJE's culture of teamwork, commitment to purpose and values, and strong desire to succeed."