AUGUSTA — Kenway Corp., an advanced manufacturing company that makes products for a wide range of industries from composite materials, has been acquired by a Pennsylvania company that plans to keep the Augusta business’ employees there.

In a deal announced Monday, the company and its 70 employees are expected to remain in Augusta as a division of Creative Pultrusions Inc., which itself is a subsidiary of the United Kingdom-based Hill & Smith Holdings PLC.

“As to the employees and the Augusta facility, this acquisition is very positive,” Kenway Corp. President Ian Kopp said Monday.

“CPI has signed a lease to remain in Augusta, and all employees are being retained. Though the majority owners Kenneth Priest and Michael Priest have retired, I will continue as president of Kenway. The reality is that no material change will be seen by employees, customers, vendors or the community, other than an ongoing focus to grow the company’s manufacturing presence in Maine.”

Kenway Corp. and CPI are privately-held companies and few other details about the deal are publicly available.

Keith Luke, deputy director of development services, whose charge is economic development, said the nature of what Kenway does is specialization, so moving the company without the employees wouldn’t be feasible.

“Kenway has a workforce that is highly trained, specialized and has a high degree of productivity,” Luke said. “It’s not easily exportable.

In announcing the deal, Kopp said over the past two decades Kenway has found itself working with CPI as a vendor, as a customer and as a competitor.

“We were always very impressed,” Kopp said in his prepared statement. “When presented with the opportunity to join CPI as part of Hill & Smith’s global composites manufacturer holdings, the decision was easy. They are a company who shares our values, our business philosophy and our vision for the future of the composites industry.”

Kenway Corp. got its start seven decades ago in central Maine as a boat builder. Kenneth G. Priest started Kenway Boats in 1947, building and selling wooden boats called runabouts. Over time, Kenway started producing fiberglass boats and using other composite materials. Eventually, the company shifted its work to producing a variety of corrosion-resistant and custom-fabricated components like pipes and tanks.

In 1966, as Kenway Corp., the company shifted its focus to serve industrial clients and eventually opened up a production plant on Riverside Drive in Augusta.

Today, the company uses composite materials to design and manufacture custom products for a wide range of heavy industry, infrastructure and government and military clients in industries that include transportation and light rail, marine, mining and mineral processing, pulp and paper, and infrastructure and bridges, and it offers field service.

Over the years, Kenway has bought other companies that put it back in the boat-making business: the New Hampshire-based Maritime Skiff in 2007 and the North Carolina-based Southport Boatworks in 2011.

Kopp said Monday that Southport Boats LLC will continue to be owned by him and Kenneth Priest and Michael Priest. But as the companies grow, that business will likely be looking for a location in the greater Augusta area into which it can expand.

In late 2015, Kenway acquired the assets of Harbor Technologies LLC, a Brunswick company that had recently dissolved. As a division of Kenway, its offerings were expected to expand from pilings and fenders made from composite materials to include beams, lumber and other products.

As a part of CPI, Kenway is now part of a global organization.

In the news release issued Monday, Shane Weyant, CPI’s chief executive officer and president, said Kenway’s products and manufacturing techniques complement his company’s strategic growth and focus.

“The Priest family needs to be commended for their inspiration and their success in developing Kenway as the market leader over the last 70 years,” Weyant said. “We welcome the entire Kenway team to our team and are grateful this third-generation family business entrusts CPI with upholding Kenway’s excellent reputation and advancing the company forward.

CPI, located in Alum Bank, Pennsylvania, was established in 1973. According to the news release, Hill & Smith Holdings PLC is an international group in the design, manufacture and supply of infrastructure products and galvanizing services, which provides protection from corrosion.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.