HYPERAMS 2020 Year in Review
The HYPERAMS management team recently came together at the start of the new year to reflect on an unprecedented 2020, in which the COVID-19 pandemic significantly altered the auction, appraisal and liquidation industry landscape. Despite industry-wide challenges, the HYPERAMS team completed a number of high-profile projects throughout the year, creating value for its customers while keeping both its customers’ and employees’ health and safety top of mind.
HYPERAMS, which has over 250 years of combined experience performing appraisals and liquidations in numerous market downturns and challenging environments, continued to offer its services throughout the entirety of the 2020 pandemic. The business was quick to leverage technology to provide a high level of client services remotely, including transitioning auctions from in-person to online platforms, scheduling inspections to increase social-distancing, providing asset videos, as well as conducting plant tours virtually where possible. HYPERAMS team members, many of whom have 20 to 30 years of experience, continued to monitor the rapidly changing markets, offering clients up-to-date information on current trends.
“2020 certainly proved to be a crazy year, and one I am guessing we would all like to see in the rear-view mirror,” said President Tom Pabst. “I can’t thank our team enough for all their efforts in this very difficult environment to do business. The health and safety of our customers and team members has been first and foremost on our minds, and that has taken a significant adjustment to the way we do business, and in our personal lives. Despite the challenges, our appraisal division again posted meaningful growth, both in revenues and team additions. More importantly, our look into 2021 show indications of a significant uptick in our market, with four auctions already on the calendar for January. I suspect that next year’s annual review will post quite an increase in activity over 2020”.
HYPERAMS started 2020 with a huge three-day auction of a major appliance manufacturer’ shuttered St. Cloud, Minnesota plant. The plant was over one million square feet in size with over a thousand separate lots for sale. "The number of quality assets available was substantial, and we were pleased with the significant buyer turnout," noted Senior Vice President Gene Arenson at the time.
Despite being delayed out of an abundance of caution, HYPERAMS and its partners conducted a major sale of a printing and supplies company in mid-2020, which achieved better-than-anticipated results. HYPERAMS conducted a two-day online auction of a well-known kitchenware and cookware manufacturer in mid-2020, as well. Arenson noted that the auction was highly successful and achieved significant online turnout.
In the second half of 2020, HYPERAMS continued to rise to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic by conducting four multi-phase auctions for one of the world's largest vertically integrated producers of hemp-derived CBD products. Assets included agricultural equipment and implements, as well as rolling stock, electrical and IT equipment, and several new multi-purpose silos. In addition to auctions, HYPERAMS completed several other projects, including numerous liquidation sales and, most notably, the turnkey sale of a Virginia-based manufacturer of wood pellets. HYPERAMS noted that the sale of the real estate and the machinery and equipment in-place as a turnkey operation to an end-user in the wood pellet industry resulted in the highest possible recovery for the client and the best outcome for the business’ employees. "Our comprehensive and aggressive marketing of this facility ultimately brought a very qualified buyer to the table and we were able to ink a deal before the plant was set to be auctioned off in pieces," said HYPERAMS Chief Financial Officer Bob Pabst.
Other auctions conducted in 2020 included precision machine shops, landscaping and construction companies, and printers, among many others.
While the pandemic cast uncertainty on virtually all industries, HYPERAMS’ appraisal division continued to provide clients with high-quality and timely valuation services. Dan Quirk, Managing Director of Valuations, Business Development, noted that "clients continue to express their appreciation for our large firm quality and industry experience while continuing to have a small firm client care ethos and price competitiveness.” Quirk also noted that having an auction and liquidation team that works closely with appraisers has given clients access to real-world data throughout the pandemic and economic crisis.
Furthermore, despite the pandemic's impact on the overall economy, HYPERAMS hired five new associates to support both appraisal and liquidation divisions in 2020, including a machinery and equipment appraiser, one inventory appraisal financial analyst, two appraisal writers, and a liquidation business development associate.
In addition to transactions, the HYPERAMS team dedicated time to supporting others in the industries in which it operates. Arenson, Pabst, and Director of Business Development Kat Parker remained active in their leadership roles at the Chicago/Midwest Chapter of the Turnaround Management Association, including planning socially distanced events and supporting its members. Parker (as treasurer) and Quirk (as committee member) also remained active in their roles at the Secured Finance Network’s Midwest Chapter. Pabst and Parker were panel participants at several SFNET conferences this year, with a particular focus on challenges brought on by the pandemic, from maintaining client relationships to understanding the changing credit environment and due diligence efforts. Assistant Director of Auction Services Jake Josko continued to support the auction industry in his role as secretary of the Machinery Dealers National Association’s Chicago Chapter, and will take over as chairman of the group in 2021. He also continued to serve as a national board member of the Association of Machinery and Equipment Appraisers.
For more details on HYPERAMS’ auction, liquidation, and appraisal solutions, please visit www.HYPERAMS.com.