Manchester Thrives On Trouble
Neal St. Anthony’s column in the Business section
From Star Tribune, Tuesday, November 30, 1999
A firm headed by another ex-U.S. Banker (which long ago passed Pillsbury as the Twin
Cities’ largest corporate alumni club) recently won the 1999 small-company award from
the Chicago-based Turnaround Management Association.
Minneapolis-based Manchester Companies, headed by Mark Sheffert, won the
award for troubleshooting Medical Graphics in 1997-98, finding a new CEO, shedding
extraneous businesses, overhauling the balance sheet, returning the firm to profitability
and otherwise prepping it for sale.
The stock had slumped from $5 to 62 cents last year before the turnaround
to take hold. Medical Graphics was a profitable, $23 million-revenue firm in 1994.
Two years later, amid a poorly executed diversification drive, the company posted a
$9 million loss on $20 million in revenues.
Sheffert was named chairman in early 1997, implemented $7 million in annual
cost savings and helped refocus Medical Graphics on core competencies that drove
increased sales and profitability over the last several quarters.
In September, cash-flush, business-poor Angeion Corp., announced that it
would pay $2.15 per share, or $16.3 million, for Medical Graphics, which will become
a wholly owned subsidiary of Angeion and a key part of Angeion’s growth strategy.
The combined company will be headed by Richard Jahnke, the chief executive of
Vadnais Heights-based Medical Graphics.
It’s considered a nice fit because Angeion, which had abandoned its principal
business, has a ton of cash from legal settlements and tax credits, while Medical
Graphics has a profitable, growing business.
Manchester, founded in 1989, employs veteran accountants, attorneys and others
who provide management talent, turnaround and investment banking services to smaller
Sheffert was named one of the four "Outstanding Directors" of the year recently by
Twin Cities Business Monthly.
Neal St. Anthony reports on companies, people and trends in the Twin Cities
business community. His column appears Tuesday and Friday. He can be reached at
612-673-7144 or firstname.lastname@example.org