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Pleatco Filtration Brings Together the Combined Forces of Apel and Milton

Pleatco combines forces to create strategic master brand across pool and spa filtration and industrial air markets in 2019

April 17th, 2019, Glen Cove, New York; Pleatco, LLC (“Pleatco”) the market leading manufacturer of cartridge filters for the pool and spa industry, an Align Capital Partners (ACP) portfolio company, is pleased to announce the closure of the acquisition of APEL International (“APEL”) filtration, an industry leading designer and manufacturer of pleated filter cartridges, pleated bags, and other filtration products for mission-critical industrial air applications, and MPF Engineered Filters (“Milton”) a key producer of industrial air filtration products located in Milton, Ontario Canada. APEL will be merged with Milton to create a single industrial air filtration division and the formation of these three industry leading companies will be consolidated under the master brand of “Pleatco Filtration” in 2019.

“For the past thirteen years we have grown the Pleatco brand and business to be the industry leader in the pool and spa industry and it is with great excitement that we announce these acquisitions that expand our business into the industrial air filtration space.” remarks Howard Smith, Pleatco. “This is a significant strategic milestone that dramatically accelerates our growth plans. By consolidating our combined resources and intellectual property we are able to leverage our operations to become a significant driving force in the filtration space leading through science and innovation.”

Coincident with the acquisitions, Howard Smith will now take on the role of Vice Chairman and Rick Von Drehle has joined Pleatco Filtration as CEO. “The acquisitions of APEL and Milton are core to our strategy at Pleatco Filtration – to build a diversified, aftermarket focused filtration products company with an unwavering commitment to science and innovation,” said ACP Managing Partner Rob Langley. “Rick has been on the board at Pleatco since we became a key shareholder in Pleatco in 2017, he has a great track-record of building and growing filtration businesses and we look forward to working with Rick and the broader Pleatco team to execute our organic growth initiatives and to further build the Pleatco Filtration platform through acquisitions.”

“I’m excited to continue our legacy as a high-quality manufacturer with industry-best lead times under the Pleatco Filtration brand and platform.” says Paul LaCroix, founder of APEL. Additionally, Dave Brunner, President of Milton Manufacturing remarks, “The commitment to product quality, customer service, and innovation were key to my decision to partner with Pleatco”.

Pleatco Filtration will optimize production and consolidate operations across all facilities with manufacturing in New York, Mexicali, Louisville and Ontario and a distribution center in Calexico.

“In the immediate, APEL and Milton will continue to operate under their current brands allowing us to align our systems, processes and people and ultimately operate under the one banner. The strength that merging these three key industry players brings a significant new force to the filtration space.” remarks Rick Von Drehle, CEO Pleatco Filtration. “All three companies have built a great reputation for quality, service and innovation and the consolidation under the “Pleatco Filtration” brand provides us with a tremendous competitive advantage to leverage the company to the highest level across both air and water filtration industries.”

About Pleatco, LLC

Pleatco is a leading designer and manufacturer of pleated filter cartridges and other filtration products for the pool / spa and industrial end markets across both USA and Europe. Products are marketed under the Pleatco Ultra™ and Pleatco Advanced™ brands, which are backed by an industry leading engineering, product development, sales and marketing and customer service teams. For more information, visit


Milton Manufacturing Inc. (Milton) came to life over 25 years ago when higher quality cartridge filters were needed to meet the ever changing manufacturing environment. We started with simple improvements to industry standard manufacturing procedures, followed by more extensive modifications to improve cleaning and overall cartridge life. These changes led to a variety of improved materials and configurations that MMI has refined and polished over the years, thus setting the standard for all others. With the acquisition of MPF Engineered Filters in 2008, MMI has positioned itself as promote cartridge supplier for the Canadian and international

About APEL

Founded in 1996 by Paul & Susan LaCroix, APEL has become an award-winning industry leader and most versatile manufacturer of custom and standard replacement cartridge filters, pleated bags and fabric filters for dust collection, dry process filtration and pollution control systems. Large run specialty filters with custom tooling requirements are easily engineered in-house within our tool, die and custom mold division. All filters are manufactured by APEL International, Inc. at our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Louisville,

About Align Capital Partners

Headquartered in Cleveland and Dallas, Align Capital Partners is a growth-oriented private equity firm that partners with business owners and management teams to create shared success. ACP brings experience, resources, and a $326 million committed fund to help companies accelerate their growth, to the benefit of management, employees and the firm’s investors. ACP makes control investments in growth-oriented, lower-middle market specialty manufacturing, distribution, and business services companies. The firm’s founders have extensive experience with these types of businesses, collectively having completed more than 90 investments representing more than $5 billion of enterprise value since 2000. For more information, visit

All press enquiries:
Battista Remati, Chief Creative Officer, Pleatco,
28 Garvies Point Road, Glen Cove, New York 11542, USA

Posted on 03/12/2019


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