Buckeye buys Barnett Heating & Air; adds $3.5 million in revenue

SPECIAL TO CONTRACTOR SAN DIEGO Buckeye Ventures has acquired Barnett Heating & Air Conditioning Services in Modesto, Calif., the company announced in March. Founded in 1961, Barnett is a service company specializing in energy-savings solutions in the residential market. The acquisition will add an expected $3.5 million to Buckeye's annual revenue. It increases Buckeye's scope of operations regionally,

SPECIAL TO CONTRACTOR

SAN DIEGO — Buckeye Ventures has acquired Barnett Heating & Air Conditioning Services in Modesto, Calif., the company announced in March. Founded in 1961, Barnett is a service company specializing in energy-savings solutions in the residential market. The acquisition will add an expected $3.5 million to Buckeye's annual revenue. It increases Buckeye's scope of operations regionally, augmenting its existing Energy King operation in Sacramento, Calif.

Buckeye was formed for the purpose of acquiring and operating businesses in the retail home services industry with the objective of creating a national brand for consumers, the company said. Buckeye noted that it has committed to an acquisition schedule with plans to become a nation-wide leader in the HVAC and plumbing sectors by providing many small- to mid-sized local and regional operators the opportunity to become part of a national conglomerate as a publicly held company.

Barnett's Modesto location makes possible a number of synergies with Buckeye's other location, the company said. The proximity of the Energy King and Barnett operations will allow the enterprise to consolidate overhead in accounting, operations and administration as well as benefit from the experience of Energy King's senior management team of Varin Larson and Alan Hardwick.

They will oversee the Barnett integration, working to streamline Barnett's operating system and expand Barnett's footprint in central California. The company said it plans to implement the same tactics in Modesto that it has used in its Boston and Sacramento operations.

In 2006, Buckeye acquired service contractor Energy King, which incorporated in 1988 under the name ITES Service Corp. The company's initial acquisition in 2005 was of Heating & Air Conditioning Services, which has been an HVAC and plumbing service provider in Boston for more than 20 years. The Barnett acquisition was attractive for several reasons, said Alan Mintz, Buckeye president and CEO.

"First, it takes advantage of our great management team in the area, providing significant insight into the industry and performance enhancing capabilities," he said. "Second, its location represents an attractive opportunity for significant regional growth as [Buckeye] continues its progress in building its national group."

Mintz had been on the senior management teams of consolidators American Residential Services and Blue Dot Services. In addition, he had been president of Atlantic Richfield's $30 million HVAC contracting division, and he founded Havsco Heating & Air Conditioning in Cleveland. He was founder of the Greater Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors Association.

Buckeye's board members include other industry veterans Alfred Roach Jr., chairman, and Ron Smith. In 1986, Roach joined Service America, a national HVAC franchise company, as its president and general counsel. From 1989 to 1997, as a principal in Callahan/Roach & Associates, he provided consulting and training services to small businesses in the construction industry and developed, along with Mike Callahan, a flat-rate pricing program for the residential and light commercial HVAC contractors.

In 1997 Callahan/Roach merged with GroupMAC, a Houston-based consolidation company that went public later that year. Roach served as president of the commercial/industrial group of GroupMAC and was responsible for the financial and operational oversight of 37 companies generating more than $900 million in revenues.

Smith founded Modern Air Conditioning, a regional service provider in Fort Myers, Fla., and built it to a $15 million company. In 1985, he founded Service America in Atlanta, an HVAC franchiser, which later grew to 110 franchisees. In 1991, he established Ron Smith & Associates, an HVAC training and consulting company. In 1997, he joined Service Experts, a publicly traded consolidator, as its chief operating officer. When the company was sold to Lennox Industries in 2000, Service Experts had 116 U.S. locations.

Buckeye's Website, www.BEYV.com, lists San Diego plumbing contractor Maurice Maio as an officer, although no title is given. He created the Maio Success System, a program designed to make plumbing companies profitable.

Gross sales for nine months ended Sept. 30, 2006, the latest that Buckeye has reported to the Securities & Exchange Commission, totaled $8,009,397. The company also reported a net loss of $999,916.