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Universal Forest Products buys crate manufacturer

A subsidiary of Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Universal Forest Products acquired Container Systems, a manufacturer of crates and containers for industrial applications and the moving-and-storage industry, located in Franklinton, N.C. 

CSI produces a full line of moving and storage crates, specialized crates for niche markets and integrated packaging solutions, and is a wholesale cut-to-size panel and lumber supplier to the area’s industrial customers. Sales in 2013 were about $3 million. 

The acquisition provides a presence in the Eastern United States for Universal’s Industrial Wood Industries (IWI), which supplies bulk shipping and storage bins, moving boxes, fruit and nut bins, and other specialized wood products to industrial and agricultural customers, primarily in the West. IWI shares many customers with CSI. With this move, IWI will have a presence in the East and an opportunity serve new clients and to enhance service to existing clients with locations nationwide, the company said.

“This acquisition is a perfect complement to IWI’s business, and allows that affiliate to bring its strong capabilities and solutions to the Eastern Seaboard,” said UFP CEO Matthew J. Missad.

UFP’s industrial business is a primary focus for growth opportunities, he added.

“Container Systems is known as a quality panel products manufacturing company in its market and, with the resources and strengths of our IWI operations, we look forward to serving new customers in the East with the products and service they expect from a Universal company.” 

CSI joint-owner Scott Parsons will remain as plant manager of the Franklinton operations, and employees Lyle Davis and James Boswell will serve as operations manager and account manager, respectively. “This is an exciting new chapter for the people and customers of CSI, and we’re proud to now be a part of a respected international manufacturer and supplier,” Parsons said. 

The transaction closed on March 14.