HI conglomerate acquires Burwood Industries

CHICAGO–HI Service Enterprises Inc., a Dallas-based conglomerate whose stable of companies includes Syroco Inc., has acquired Burwood Industries Inc., another manufacturer of decorative wall accessories and clocks, for an undisclosed price.

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Burwood, a firm estimated to have a $68 million annual volume, will be operated as an autonomous, wholly-owned subsidiary of HI. Burwood’s business include New Have Clock, maker of clocks and home furnishings accessories for the housewares field; Burwood Products, mirror and decorative accessories supplier to the furniture market; and H.L. Hubbell, manufacturer of grandfather adn high-end clocks.

According to Don Carter, president of HI, and Emil Faust, president and former majority shareholder of Burwood, the present management of Burwood will remain intact. They also said no changes are planned at the company’s plants in Traverse City, Mich., and Grand Island, Neb. Burwood’s executive headquarters are in suburban Lincolnwood, Ill.

HI Service Enterprises Inc. is a privately-held firm whose other interests include: Moody Day Corp., a construction equipment company; High Exploration, an oil exploration firm; Service Industries Realty Corp., a land development company; and the Dallas Mavericks National Basketball Assn. franchise.

Burwood’s connection with HI is through Home Interiors & Gifts, a party plan operation that has been selling Burwood merchandise for over 10 years. Though the two companies operate separately, Carter said Home Interiors & Gifts is the major stockholder in HI Service Enterprises. Carter concedes that HI has expansion plans for Burwood. He said HI executives are in Zealand, Mich., studying the feasibility of reopening a Hubbell plant there to capitalize on the growing grandfather clock business.

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But, Carter believes, New Haven Clocks probably provides the biggest growth potential for the company. “It is one of the key places to pump money (for expansion) to keep them out in front in the clock industry,” he said.

Carter sees no direct competition developing between HI’s two decorative accessories companies, Syroco and Burwood: “They are two outfits that go after different markets.” Rather, he sees the two firm’s benefitting from a sharing of technological, manufaturing and styling ideas.

Peter Faust, Burwood executive vice president, said his company is pleased with the sale. “We have done business with Home Interiors for a long time, and have known the principals well. They have assured us we will remain autonomous, ant that they are committed to building New Haven Clocks and our proprietary business.”

Faust, son of Emil Faust, Burwood president, said the company was sold for “estate purposes.” An “estate problem” has been developing at the company for some time, he said.

Burwood came into the housewares fol din 1957 after Emil Faust bought the company, which was founded in 1918 as a producer of souvenirs and gifts. He acquired the New Haven Clock business in 1969 and Hubbell in 1979.

Carter said HI Service Enterprises is an outgrowth of Home Interiors & Gifts, a party plan company founded 26 years ago. Carter said the firm had been doing business with Burwood since 1971. Since then, he has become a close friend of the Fausts, he said.


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