Hopkins and Carrand Join Forces to Create Leading Automotive Cleaning Products Company

 

EMPORIA, KANSAS, April 12, 2005 -- Hopkins Manufacturing Corporation announced today that it has acquired privately owned Carrand Companies, Inc.  Based in Rancho Dominguez, CA, Carrand is a leading designer and marketer of specialty cleaning tools and accessories for the automotive aftermarket.   Carrand will operate from its current facility as a subsidiary of Hopkins Manufacturing and will continue to be led by Carrand President Rand Rognlien.  Carrand shareholders David Rognlien, Rand Rognlien and Brock Robertson have invested in Hopkins as part of the transaction.

 

The acquisition establishes Hopkins as the leading automotive cleaning products company servicing the automotive aftermarket.  "We are very excited to have Hopkins and Carrand join forces," said Bradley T. Kraft, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hopkins. "Carrand is an outstanding company, with exceptionally strong management and a leadership position in everyday vehicle cleaning products.  Their product offerings are highly complementary to Hopkins' strong leadership in winter cleaning tools."

 

"Carrand has done an excellent job of bringing consumers quality, innovative products that make the task of cleaning vehicles easier and more effective," Kraft continued. "The philosophies of the two companies are consistent.  We are both focused on providing consumers with innovative solutions for everyday tasks."

 

Rand Rognlien, President of Carrand, said, "We are very excited about combining with Hopkins.  We have demonstrated impressive growth in the everyday vehicle cleaning products category by introducing innovative products that help our retail customers grow their businesses.  By aligning with Hopkins, we can accelerate our growth." 

 

Steven Skoler, Managing Director of Friend Skoler & Co., Hopkins' largest investor, said, "Under the leadership of Brad Kraft and his management team, Hopkins has achieved organic revenue growth through the introduction of innovative, value added products.  Rand Rognlien and his team have also demonstrated a creativity and dedication to innovation that has led to Carrand's strong presence today in the automotive cleaning aftermarket.  It's a great match."

 

About Carrand Companies, Inc.

 

Founded in 1982 by David Rognlien, Carrand designs and markets a full line of high quality everyday vehicle cleaning products including brushes, squeegees, and nozzles; outdoor household cleaning tools including hand-held, flow through and extension brushes; and winter vehicle cleaning tools such as ice scrapers and snowbrushes.  Additionally, the company markets a line of automotive aftermarket accessories, including mechanics gloves, fans, horns and cable ties. 

 

For further information, please visit www.carrand.com.

 

About Hopkins Manufacturing Corporation

 

Headquartered in Emporia, Kansas, Hopkins is a leading manufacturer and marketer of quality, innovative specialized towing products and functional accessories for the automotive and recreational vehicle aftermarkets.  Hopkins markets its products under a number of well-recognized brand names, including Hoppy®, TAPTM, LiteMate®, BrakeBuddy®, Spillmaster® and FloToolTM.  Hopkins' products include vehicle-to-trailer wiring and control accessories, RV supplemental tow brakes, and a variety of automotive winter care, fluid handling, storage & organization and auto cleaning accessories.  Built on the philosophy that its products will deliver meaningful innovation, performance and value to the consumer, in 2005 the company is celebrating its 52nd year serving consumers in the automotive aftermarket.

 

For further information, please visit www.hopkinsmfg.comwww.brakebuddy.com, or www.trailerwiring.com.

 

About Friend Skoler & Co.

 

Founded in 1998, Friend Skoler & Co. is a private equity firm that invests in leading companies in the smaller end of the middle market in partnership with management.  FSC typically invests between $10 million and $40 million of equity per transaction and manages Friend Skoler Equity Investors, L.P., a private equity fund with $231 million of capital commitments.  Friend Skoler is headquartered in Saddle Brook, NJ. 

 

For additional information, please visit www.friendskoler.com.

 

Contacts:            

 

Lauren Goldman, Marketing Services Manager

(620) 340-8496

 

Bradley T. Kraft, President

(620) 340-8405

 

Rand Rognlien, President, Carrand Companies, Inc.

(800) 527-3465