Onalaska's L.B. White announces change in ownership

L. B. White Co. Inc. announced Tuesday the Milwaukee-based private equity firm Mason Wells Inc., acquired the ownership interests of Board Chairman Jeff Diermeier and President and CEO Rick Diermeier.

Erik Daily, La Crosse Tribune

ONALASKA -- L.B. White Co. Inc. announced new owners on Tuesday.

According to a press release, Milwaukee-based private equity firm Mason Wells Inc. acquired the ownership interests of Board Chairman Jeff Diermeier and President and CEO Rick Diermeier. Chief Financial Officer Kevin Gagermeier will continue as an owner of the business and will replace Rick Diermeier as president and CEO when he retires in mid-October.

"I am very, very pleased with who we found," Rick said. "They are good folks and a Wisconsin-based company."

Rick's retirement was the reason he and his brother Jeff decided to sell their ownership in the company, Rick said. Mason Wells also has ownership in another local company, Whitehall Specialties, which the firm acquired in 2012.

After the transition of duties to Gagermeier, Rick Diermeier will continue to serve as a member of the company's board of directors. Gagermeier has served as chief financial officer since 2007 and co-owner since 2010.

The company's more than 135 employees will not be affected by the transition, Rick said. The value of the company and terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

L.B. White was established in 1952 by Lyall White. In 1992, the business was purchased by Tony Wilson from Warren Quinlisk. Jeff Diermeier, Rick Diermeier and Gagermeier acquired the business in December 2010.

The  65-year-old company manufactures forced-air, radiant and variable-rate heating equipment and parts for the swine, poultry and construction markets.

Mason Wells is a Midwest-based private equity firm with about $1 billion in assets under management.

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Nathan Hansen has been the Education Reporter for the Tribune since 2014. Prior to that, he covered education, agriculture and business topics for the Winona Daily News. He is always on the lookout for news tips and can be contacted at 608-791-8234.

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