Bandit Industries – Remus, MI and Isabella County's eighth-largest employer – announced on Friday it would become 100 percent employee-owned.
Announcement of the change, after several years of trying to find a buyer, comes two months after the Morey family that owns the firm began a $1.4 million expansion.
Owners Mike Morey Sr., Dianne Morey and Jerry Morey said they would sell 100 percent of the company to their 462 employees in an employee stock ownership plan.
Under the ESOP, Bandit will retain its current leadership and key management personnel will remain in place.
It will also allow Bandit to always remain Bandit, they said.
The announcement comes after two previous attempts to sell Bandit Industries – once to another manufacturer and once to a private investment firm.
"We realized neither was a good fit for Bandit, so we made the decision to sell to our trusted employees," said Dianne Morey.
Bandit expanding: $1.4 million project
Bandit is growing rapidly with 20 percent growth per year with two plant expansions currently underway and several new products being introduced later this year, the company said in a press release.
"It will be fun to watch our crew take it to the next level," said Mike Morey, who developed the very first Bandit chipper in 1983 and founded Bandit Industries.
Bandit also recently entered into an agreement with ARJES GmbH, a leading slow speed shredder manufacturer from Germany. Bandit will sell and distribute the ARJES products in the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Indonesia and other parts of the world.
The product line will shred almost anything, including cement with rerod, asphalt, steel belted tires and complete cars and trucks, the firm said.
Bandit will celebrate its 35th anniversary in September with a dealer meeting and a field day open to the public.
All of the Bandit products will be shown, including the new products that are about to be released and the ARJES line of shredders.
"We are a leading supplier in all of the markets that we are in," said Jerry Morey. "We have a very strong, dedicated dealer organization and a great crew, which is the key to our success. Our employees are experienced, smart and loyal to us. That is why we are so confident that an employee owned company is the right fit for Bandit. All our employees will have a stake in the company."
Bandit announced it's latest expansion in April.
Two building additions will boost its production capacity and add a new parts and service facility, the company said.
Bandit is investing $1.4 million in the two expansions; both are expected to come online this year. This is the second round of expansion in as many years.
"We added manufacturing space 18 months ago and revamped our assembly lines in anticipation of the increased demand," said Bandit President Jerry Morey in April. "We continue to invest in our future, not only in facilities and gear, but in our workforce, including training. We added 38 people in 2017 and plan to add another 50 employees in 2018. Our employees are what set us apart with the pride we take in the equipment built and in the way we take care of our customers. We are proud of what they do and accomplish."
As seen in The Morning Sun News.