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Larson buys Superior Homes of Watertown

Posted: Monday, Jul 27th, 2009

Brookings-based and family-owned Larson Manufacturing, the nation's No. 1 maker of storm doors and storm windows , is now venturing into the homebuilding business.

In a July 21 news release, Larson announced the purchase of Superior Homes, a Watertown-based builder of modular houses. The built-in-factory dwellings are sold via independent dealers in an eight-state region and in three Canadian provinces.

The acquisition of Superior was effective July 20 and included all the company's assets, land, buillding and business operations. But the former owner's business model, management team and staffing will continue under the new ownership.

The news release noted that Superior has more than 55 years experience in the housing industry and employs about 70 people. It is capable of building structures ranging from entry-level to executive-level homes and can also turn out other structures , such as classrooms, hotels and assisted living homes.

Jeff Rief, Larson's chief operating officer, said in the release that acquiring Superior "demonstrates our commitment to business development, diversification and long-term stability."

He added that while Larson was not planning any major operational changes, the new owner did intend "to take advantages of efficiencies of both companies as it relates to procurement , marketing and general administrative functions."

And "Larson's financial strength and stability should expand Superior Homes opportunities in the marketplace ."

The release also noted that despite a slow housing market over the past year, Superior had steadied its business "through contract opportunities in government projects, commercial applications and direct-buying customers." Dan Bieinhorn, Larson vice president of manufacturing and engineering, said that in general the housing market is still depressed, and the chance to acquire Superior Homes "was an excellent opportunity for Larson."

Details of the negotiations that led to the sale and the price Larson paid were not disclosed .

In addition to its Brookings headquarters offices and manufacturing plant, Larson also has plants in Lake Mills and Clear Lake, both in Iowa; Mocksville, N.C.; and Northport, Ala.

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