MiddleGround Capital Acquires GMS Instruments

The Dutch manufacturer will join the operations of W&O Supply.

The Erasmusbrug bridge, Rotterdam, Netherlands.
The Erasmusbrug bridge, Rotterdam, Netherlands.

LEXINGTON, Ky. — MiddleGround Capital, a private equity firm that makes control investments in North American and European middle-market B2B industrial and specialty distribution companies, announced Tuesday it has acquired GMS Instruments, a Netherlands-based supplier of measurement, regulation and control instruments for the maritime and offshore industry.

GMS will be integrated into MiddleGround’s portfolio platform PVI Holdings, specifically, as part of W&O Supply, a leading supplier of valves, pipes and fittings to the global maritime industry.

Based in Rotterdam, GMS is a leading European brand specializing in distributing measurement, regulation and control instruments to the marine, offshore and industrial end markets. Their expansive product inventory includes instruments within pressure, temperature, flow & level, valves & actuators, diagnostics, environment & engine control, test & calibration, and gas detection. GMS takes a collaborative team-based approach to producing and servicing highly specific and precise instruments to tailor solutions to a diverse set of customer needs, and also operates as a certified service HUB for OEMs to ensure operational safety and minimize downtime.

“We’re excited to welcome the well-respected and experienced GMS team to the PVI platform and guide them through its next phase of growth,” said John Stewart, managing partner at MiddleGround. “The acquisition represents a key step in expanding the W&O Supply business as part of our long-term commitment to invest in organic and inorganic growth initiatives across the PVI platform. In addition to increasing the overall size and range of available offerings, incorporating GMS into W&O Europe makes sense on many levels and we believe that by leveraging these two strong brands, they are further sending a signal to the market about the trust and quality of their respective products while also adding instrumentation to W&O’s overall product suite.”

MiddleGround acquired Houston-headquartered PVI Holdings in July 2022, in a transaction which included W&O Supply as well as PVI’s two other operating business units, Setpoint Integrated Solutions and A-T Controls.

“We are very excited and confident that the addition of GMS will be seamless and is a logical evolution for us both,” said Kristof Adam, managing director of W&O Europe. "GMS Instruments' dedication to technical expertise and high-quality service aligns perfectly with our mission. Instrumentation as a product group is a natural fit with the existing W&O product groups of valves and automation that will allow us to offer a comprehensive suite of products and services, and are looking forward to our continued collaboration with the MiddleGround team as we expand our global capabilities. We have known and collaborated with the GMS team for many years and are very excited to welcome them into the W&O family."

“For over 50 years, GMS has been recognized for our ability to alter existing products to meet specific requirements, providing our loyal customer base with optimal solutions,” said Bart de Haan, managing director of GMS Instruments. "Joining W&O Supply Group is a seamless fit given our combined expertise and the fact that we have already been partners for years. The W&O footprint and resources will bring new opportunities, higher service levels, faster service, and more possibilities for our customers. W&O Supply is investing in the maritime market, and we are happy to become part of that journey. Further, I am confident that MiddleGround’s operational expertise will make them a great partner as we continue to offer a fast and flexible one-stop-shop solution to the marine industry.”

The addition of GMS brings a complementary product offering to W&O’s established channels, providing extensive cross-selling opportunities. The expansion of W&O’s product offering within global maritime markets will unlock new growth potential in international exports for GMS while providing customers with a one-stop technical and service base for valves, actuators, pipes, pressure gauges, sensors, gas detectors, thermometers, and monitoring systems. The transaction will also serve to amplify GMS’ geographic reach through a joint, global customer network underpinned by W&O’s network of offices across Europe, the United States and Asia.

Matt Bate, chief executive officer of PVI Holdings, added, "We are thrilled to welcome GMS Instruments to the PVI portfolio as we continue to invest and grow in Europe - this is a natural extension of the PVI platform and represents a meaningful opportunity to cross-sell to W&O customers across an expanded geographic footprint. This acquisition is a key strategic step in strengthening our position in the maritime industry. By combining GMS Instruments and W&O’s technical expertise and established reputation, we can enhance our product offerings and deliver even greater value to our customers worldwide.”

The transaction was executed by MiddleGround’s European office, emphasizing the value creation the EU team can bring to U.S.-based portfolio companies.

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