Venture capital firms expanded their participation in the woodworking industry, taking advantage of the consolidation that followed the downturn. Investing in window manufacturing, cabinetry companies, lumber mills, panel plants, and furniture factories, investors also fund wood’s growing role in bioplastics and energy. Investors also recouped their gamble as some firms moved to public markets. Here are select events reported during 2013.

KPS Capital Partners
FURNITURE BRANDS: Following its Sept. 8, 2013 bankruptcy filing, Furniture Brands International received debtor in possess financing from Oaktree Capital Management, which also provided a stalking horse bid on the parent of Thomasville and Lane furniture. Samson Holding bid on the firm, then withdrew. KPS Capital Partners won Furniture Brands Nov. 22.

Apax Partners
NORCRAFT CABINETRY: Norcraft Companies began trading on the New York Stock Exchange in November 2013; proceeds retired equity from Apax and Trimaran Capital Partners.

Onex Capital
JELD-WEN WINDOWS: Onex Capital currently holds a 71% equity investment in Jeld-Wen Windows. Former investments include RSI Cabinets.

Pfingsten Partners
CLOSET WORKS: Pfingsten Partners initiated the sale of half of the company in October. Pfingsten, a private equity firm, is in the process of selling 50% of Closet Works to Frank Happ, vice chairman of Suzo-Happ Group.

North Central Equity
MEREEN JOHNSON: The manufacturer of industrial woodworking equipment was acquired by North Central Equity LLC late last year, a private holding company also based in Minneapolis. NCE seeks to acquire businesses that can justify a purchase price of approximately $2 to $6 million.

Tenex Capital Management
JET Powermatic: Tenex Capital Management, a private equity firm, will acquire JET Powermatic and Wilton Tools. Previously it acquired NAP Gladu and other tooling businesses.

Paulson & Co.
STEINWAY PIANOS: Steinway Musical Instruments gets a better offer from investment firm Paulson & Co., a month after agreeing to be acquired by Kohlberg.

H.I.G. Capital
Cardell Cabinetry: HIG Capital has more than $8.5 billion of capital under management. Active investments listed at its site include American Hardwood Industries, Waynesboro, VA; Innovative Building Systems, Liverpool, PA; and until its closure in October, Cardell Cabinetry.

Prospect Capital
MITY ENTERPRISES: Prospect Capital acquired ownership of Mity Enterprises, an Orem, UT maker of portable seating and portable wood performance platforms.
Online marketplace: More than 7,000 custom woodcrafters make products for hire. has moved into brokering commercial projects for woodworkers and a sophisticated sales transaction program.

Quirky 1
Startup funding: Would-be businesses submit ideas for public review. Winning ideas are developed and brought to market.

Paypal Working Capital: In addition to factoring receivables, Paypal has begun offering lines of credit for established businesses.

Startup funding: For new product developers seeking funding for launches. This is popular with wood crafters.

Tax Advantages Section 179

Tax benefits still accrue for purchases made and put into use during 2013. The Section 179 tax deduction, established as part of the most recent federal economic recovery programs, can be used by sole proprietors, partnerships and corporations that purchase, finance, and/or lease less than $2 million in new or used business equipment during tax year 2013.

Most tangible goods purchased or financed and placed into service between January 1, 2013, and December 31, 2013, qualify for the Section 179 deduction, including:

• Equipment purchased

• Tangible personal property used in business

• Business Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight over 6,000 lbs.

• Computers

• “Off-the-shelf” software

• Office Furniture and Equipment

• Property attached to a company’s building that is not a structural component of the building

• Partial Business Use (deduction based on percent time equipment used for business purposes).

The Section 179 deduction decreases on a dollar-for-dollar scale after $2,000,000 of equipment is purchased.

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