Mill returns to entrepreneurial roots
by Steven Feldman
The senior management team of Bentley Prince Street (BPS) has acquired the company from its parent, Interface, returning the commercial carpet manufacturer to a privately owned entity. The transaction, valued at $35 million, is expected to close in the coming weeks.
Purchased with the backing of Dominus Capital, a New York-based private equity firm, management plans to capitalize on BPS’ 30-plus year history to expand its broadloom, carpet tile and area rug businesses worldwide.
“This upcoming chapter in our company’s history is exciting for our associates and our industry because we are setting big goals for growth,” said Anthony Minite, BPS’ president and CEO. “Bentley Prince Street has long been celebrated for design excellence with an entrepreneurial spirit and that spirit is what motivates us to be better and stronger than our competitors.”
As an independent company with sales in excess of $100 million, BPS will be positioned as the largest California-based commercial carpet mill.
Minite outlined two primary goals: Expansion and enhancing the brand. “Dominus Capital is bullish on growth. We see that as a huge opportunity for us.”
Expansion will occur in three forms:
1. Broadening the product offering “to match our continued carpet tile growth.” This may include other flooring materials, he said.
2. Venturing into new segments, such as Main Street.
3. Global opportunities as “only about 10% of our business today is global.”
Minite sees BPS returning to its entrepreneurial roots as positive not just for the company, but for the industry as well. “Our industry needs stand-alone, strong businesses. The continued consolidation of our industry is not good [for anyone]. We will celebrate our California heritage, our Made in America story, and we can give people solutions and options. Now that we are a well-funded independent, we are in a perfect position to lead the industry.”
Minite is hoping that message is not lost on customers. “My hope in the coming years is that people will see us once again as a private company that listens to its customers and is known for what we commit to around highly styled, beautiful products, with customer service second to none. We want to continue to be celebrated for our design excellence.”
Partnering with Dominus Capital will afford BPS the ability to acquire the highest quality technology, which will allow the company to exceed the industry’s expectations in the areas of design and innovation.
“We look forward to supporting Minite and his management team as they continue to expand their industry-leading product portfolio and further build out their roster of dedicated clients around the globe,” said Ashish Rughwani, partner at Dominus Capital. “In addition to making a substantial financial commitment to Bentley Prince Street, we look forward to utilizing our previous experience in the floor covering industry, as well as our network of industry executives, to assist management in achieving its growth plans.” It may or may not be coincidence that Mac Bridger, former president and CEO of Collins & Aikman (predecessor to Tandus), is an operating partner at Dominus.
While the purchase may represent a change in ownership, it does not represent any change in BPS’ commitment to delivering quality products and customer service since 1979. Design, quality and service are the tenets upon which the company is built and also represent what customers have come to expect.
Customer service is one area where Minite believes BPS can excel even further. “The purchase frees us up from some costs involved with being a subsidiary of a billion-dollar company. It gives me the opportunity to streamline costs we don’t need and provide an even greater focus on the customer.”
Interface moves on
For Interface, the world’s largest manufacturer of modular carpet, the sale will allow the global company to focus entirely on its core modular carpet business. It acquired Bentley Mills in 1993 and then, nine years later, merged it with subsidiary Prince Street Technologies when broadloom operations were consolidated on the West Coast.
“Bentley Prince Street has the distinction of being an iconic brand in the marketplace,” said Dan Hendrix, chairman and CEO of Interface. “Anthony and his team have contributed a great deal to our company’s success, and in particular, to our sustainability journey. For nearly 20 years, our Bentley Prince Street colleagues have journeyed with us in reducing our negative impacts on the environment with the highest degree of integrity. I know they will continue to be a sustainability leader while expanding the boundaries of commercial carpet design, manufacturing and customer service.”
According to Minite, negotiations to purchase the company had been ongoing since April. “This has been my biggest dream for the last 11 years—to take this company private. Dominus came in and put a deal together. The timing was good for Interface.”
He also told FCNews that Interface had been a wonderful parent to BPS. “They allowed us to stand alone and keep our name strong. We have been set up for success. The passion of Ray Anderson around sustainability has helped define this company.”
For two decades BPS has led the industry in an unparalleled commitment to sustainability, he said. And it will continue to embrace Anderson’s legacy of environmental responsibility. “The company is recognized as a leader in driving sustainability, and it will continue to engage its associates and customers in that commitment.”