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Pacific Insight purchased for $144 million

Chicago conglomerate in the process of acquiring Nelson engineering firm
One of Pacific Insight’s products is interior lighting for vehicles. Photo courtesy of Pacific Insight

Pacific Insight is one of Nelson’s most unique employers, an engineering firm that creates innovative lighting, electronics and wire harnesses for the automative industry — and now the company, which is located off the side of Highway 3A on the way to Castlegar, is in the process of being acquired by a Chicago conglomerate called Methode.

All the jobs are staying in town.

“We anticipate only positive changes for Pacific Insight and our employees, partners and stakeholders in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico as a result of this acquisition,” communications manager Nina Ng told the Star.

“Methode and Pacific Insight have a similar operating culture that is focused on excellence, customer service and advanced technologies, making this acquisition a strategic fit.”

According to Ng, the technologies being developed at Pacific Insight were evolving so quickly and their business growing so exponentially that they needed more resources to accomplish their goals, and the cash influx coming from Methode will bolster their progress.

“It was the right move at the right time because the company was too big to be small, and too small to be big. We’ve been around for 30 years, but if we wanted to continue our growth we needed to combine with the right company,” she said.

“They came to Nelson and they really liked what they saw. One key reason they wanted to acquire us is Methode believes in our employees’ talents and abilities, and they believe in what we do.”

For the Chamber of Commerce’s Tom Thomson, this move makes perfect sense and will contribute to the economic strength of the Nelson region.

“Pacific Insight has been an important economic cog for the Nelson area for as long as I’ve been around. It’s a small operation that was almost started in a garage, and now it has over 1000 employees.”

Those employees are spread out between facilities in Mexico and Michigan and Vancouver, and now they’re joining a company that has 4,400 employees in 10 countries. According to Thomson joining Methode’s leadership and resources should make the Nelson facility more viable.

“White collar type jobs that are clean with no environmental concerns — lots of communities over the years have tried to woo Pacific Insight, wanted them to relocate, but Stuart and the shareholders always felt this was the place to be. They’ve always been an important player for the Chamber of Commerce, and also for our economic development partnership.”

There will be a roadshow and tour of the Pacific Insight facility during the week of August the 28, but in the meantime production continues as normal according to Ng.

“At this point it’s business as usual, we’ll continue to operate as a subsidiary while Methode invests in our capabilities and technologies, so we can create a larger portfolio of products to serve our customers, and we’ll complement our products with their products.”

The acquisition involves Methode purchasing all of Pacific Insight’s outstanding shares, which comes to approximately $144 million. CEO Stuart Ross released a press release on August 1 in which he expressed his enthusiasm for the future.

“For our shareholders, this transaction will create compelling value by providing them liquidity at an attractive valuation and premium to market in an all-cash transaction,” he said.

“Methode’s global manufacturing footprint will provide us the ability to meet our customers’ requested expansion into Asia and Europe.”

The sale is expected to be finalized in the fall.