SWANTON, Vt.—Leader Evaporator Co., the biggest U.S. maple equipment manufacturer, will be sold to H20 Innovation, another big player in the maple industry and a publicly traded company out of Quebec City, Que.
H20 announced in a press release that it has entered into a “binding letter of intent” to buy Leader and its 103,000 sq. ft. factory in Swanton, Vt. by July. Terms of the sale were not announced.
“The acquisition is expected to increase revenues coming from maple equipment and products by 60% to 70% and to expand our manufacturing capabilities to answer the growing demand of the maple industry”, said Frédéric Dugré, President and Chief Executive Officer of H2O Innovation.
Leader Evaporator has 53 dealers and distributors in the U.S. and H20 has nearly 50 including an anchor store in Swanton, just down the street from the Leader headquarters. No word on the fate of that location.
Leader, which has been making evaporators and other equipment in Vermont since 1888, has been held with private stock by a handful of prominent maple families.
The company, with more than 60 employees at its Swanton location, has enjoyed a well established and loyal following in the maple industry.
“The synergies between the Leader and H2O Innovation product lines and the harmony of our company cultures makes this a perfect fit. And with the maple farming sector poised for a major growth cycle, this transaction sets Leader and H2O Innovation up for a very strong decade of growth”, stated Jeff Smith, President of Leader.