CNY’s HealthWay is selling the family’s booming air purifier business to a private equity group

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A family-owned air purification company that started in a small fishing village in central New York caught Wall Street’s attention today through a private equity fund.

The HealthWay family of brands in Pulaski announced that it will sell its fast-growing business to AE Industrial Partners, a private equity firm specializing in buying successful family businesses.

Neither company announced how much AE Industrial Partners will pay for a majority stake in HealthWay.

Vinny Lobdell, the company’s president, told syracuse.com | Post-Standard, which he and his father Vincent will continue to run, will continue to run the company and retain a minority stake in his property.

AE Industrial Partners agreed to retain all of HealthWay’s workforce of more than 120 employees in Pulaski, Oswego County and 350 employees worldwide, said Vinny Lobdell.

The private equity fund also agreed to continue investing in HealthWay’s headquarters in central New York, where the company is building a 60,000-square-foot extension, Lobdell said.

“My father and I are very committed to helping HealthWay in Central New York continue to grow,” said Lobdell. “We expect our business to double.”

He said AE Industrial Partners reached out to HealthWay about the deal after a nationwide search to acquire a U.S. air quality company.

“With 40 years of industry experience, Vince is a true leader in this field and we look forward to working with him and his team to capitalize on the industry’s strong tailwind,” said Kelly Romano, operational partner at AE Industrial Partners in a Opinion.

HealthWay’s increased sales more than 200 percent last year amid record demand for its products during the coronavirus pandemic, Lobdell said. He did not want to announce specific sales figures.

Since the pandemic began, HealthWay has increased its workforce in Pulaski from 34 to over 120 to fulfill orders for the company’s air purifiers.

The company makes medical-grade air purifiers that are sold under three brand names – HealthWay, Intellipure, and Pure Wellness. HealthWay’s patented air purification systems filter tiny particles of mold, bacteria and viruses in the air with an efficiency of 99.97 percent.

Lobdell said laboratory tests show the company’s equipment removes 99.99 percent of the H1N1 virus, which is smaller than the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

In the past 18 months, HealthWay has sold more than 28,000 portable air purifiers to Chicago schools and more than 100,000 units to New York City schools. Schools in Syracuse bought 2,500 portable units.

The company’s air purification products range from portable air purifiers for a single room to filtration systems for large commercial buildings. The systems sell between $ 500 million and $ 500 million for large commercial units.

HealthWay’s fastest growth has been in its air cleaning systems for large commercial buildings, Lobdell said.

Customers include Marriott and Hilton Hotels, Wegmans Grocery Stores, the New York City Health and Hospital System, and Atlantic Health Systems in New Jersey.

Before the January 2020 pandemic, HealthWay had been fighting. The company decided to lay off eight employees after the U.S. trade war with China resulted in a 25 percent tariff on parts the company imports into its Pulaski manufacturing facility.

AE Industrial Partners, based in Boca Raton, Florida, invests in aerospace, defense, aerospace and power generation companies.

According to its own statements, the private equity company has acquired more than 100 companies since 1998. The company specializes in the acquisition of privately run companies that have been run by a family or a company founder for decades.

“It is not our intention to run the day-to-day business of our portfolio companies, but we help to run them better with a constant focus on value creation,” says AE Industrial Partners on its website.

HealthWay seems like a perfect match for this model.

Lobdell’s father, Vince, started the company almost 40 years ago in the family’s hometown. He sold air purifiers to remove cigarette smoke from bars and restaurants.

As the company became more successful, the Lobdells decided to invest some of their profits in Pulaski.

The family helped revitalize the village by buying about 20 vacant or dilapidated buildings in Pulaski and converting them into retail, office and residential properties.

The crown jewel of the family property is the historic Kallet Theater in Pulaski. The Lobdells renovated the 350-seat theater and turned it into a multi-purpose building that hosts conferences, plays, and concerts.

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