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Nautel Founders Sell Their Shares

New ownership includes Kevin Rodgers, its customer service/IT director

Transmitter manufacturer Nautel Ltd. has changed hands.

Founders Dennis Covill, David Grace and John Pinks sold their shares after 42 years, the Chronicle Herald newspaper reported. CEO Peter Conlon confirmed the details to Radio World. The agreement took effect at the end of October. Financial details were not released.

The new owners hold 100% of Nautel’s shares and are local to the Halifax business community. They are George Waye, a local accountant; Bob Healy, owner of a financial planning firm; and Kevin Rodgers, Nautel’s director of customer service and IT. Rodgers owned a small number of shares under prior ownership arrangement; Conlon said Healy has been interested in Nautel ownership for some 20 years.

He said the ownership change has no effect on customers or employees, happening largely outside of daily operations, and that the sale has been in the works for about a year.

“We’ve watched succession plans happen at other organizations,” Conlon told RW. “This one is unique; the people who own it are people who care for the place and have waited on the sidelines” for this opportunity.

Asked if the change in ownership was driven by any sales or debt problems, Conlon said the opposite was the case, that sales are increasing and debt burden is not a concern. “Our business in the U.S. is actually growing as a percentage of our total business; and our total business is growing, the exact opposite of what one would have expected. Our business continues to prosper.”

Conlon said that at the recent board meeting, founder Dennis Covill expressed satisfaction that he had created a successful, stable company.

The local newspaper reported that Nautel employs about 200 people, mostly in Nova Scotia and Maine, and has $40 million in annual sales. Conlon didn’t confirm exact numbers but said they were approximately correct.

Nautel Seeks the Long-Term View (Feb. 2011)