Herald JournalHerald Journal, May 19, 2003

Lester Building Systems being sold to employee group

By Ryan Gueningsman

A group of seven long-time employees have signed a letter of intent to purchase Lester Building Systems from its current owner, Butler Manufacturing.

Current President John Hill, along with Larry Lembrich, senior vice president of sales, Tom Borgman, marketing manager, Marcia Langseth, controller and human resources manager, Paul Boor, engineering manager, Cathy Telecky, field construction manager, and Craig Loger, Lester Prairie regional service manager, will close the transaction in late June or early July.

"There is a combined 71 years of experience with the group," Hill said.

The parties anticipate completing a definitive purchase agreement during the next several weeks, with the closing of the transaction occurring in late June or early July. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Commenting on the purchase, Hill said: "This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity springs from Butler's strategic decision to exit the post-frame construction industry. Butler will provide seller financing as a part of the transaction, and we are absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to own a company as rich in tradition and with as strong a brand preference in the marketplace as Lester has."

Lester's was purchased by Butler Manufacturing in 1986. Butler is deciding to exit the post-frame construction industry, according to a Lester Building Systems press release.

Lester's will continue to operate its engineering design and manufacturing business as Lester Building Systems, and its direct sale/construction business as Lester Buildings, Inc.

The company specializes in pre-engineered wood frame buildings, used mainly in light commercial, equestrian, suburban, agricultural and livestock buildings. Lester's also has manufacturing plants in Charleston, Ill, and Clear Brook, Va., that it will continue to operate as usual.

"We really want to take a higher profile in the local communities," Hill said. "We're working on a game plan for that."

"We're a 56-year-old company with over 110,000 buildings dotting the US landscape," Hill said. "As upcoming new owners of the business, we can't wait to take on the future and write the next several chapters of Lester history."

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