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Riverside Stokes Acquisition Fire With Add-On July 29, 2008

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Acquisition is 17th Overall for 2008

(July 29, 2008) – The Riverside Company’s red-hot acquisition pace continues with the acquisition of the assets of the specialty hearth business of CFM Corporation, a well-known manufacturer of hearth, stove and grill products. The acquisition is the first add-on to Monessen Hearth Systems, acquired by Riverside Capital Appreciation Fund (“RCAF ’03”) in 2006. Monessen, producer of a full line of gas, wood and electric fireplaces, stoves, gas logs and accessories, acquired the key assets of CFM out of Canada’s Companies Creditor Arrangement Act and Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The transaction marks the 17th overall for Riverside in 2008.

Monessen’s product lines, recognized for reliability and aesthetics, fit together like neatly stacked logs with CFM’s primary brands, Vermont Castings and Majestic. Vermont Castings’ line of cast iron wood-burning stoves, fireplaces and specialty BBQ grills is one of the top names in the industry, and Majestic fireplaces has a faithful following with both new construction and aftermarket customers.

“Riverside views the current housing market downturn as a great opportunity to acquire leading product lines that strategically complement Monessen’s current offering,” said Tim Gosline, Riverside Partner. “With the help of Riverside’s Operating Team, which was instrumental with the acquisition, we look forward to continuing to work with the management team to further develop the Monessen brand with these two new lines.”

“We’ve grown from producing one line of gas logs in 1993 to, with this acquisition, be one of the largest hearth manufacturers in the industry,” said Dave Barrett, Monessen President. “We have added significant space and capacity to our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, and our customer base has grown to include both wholesale distributors and specialty dealers in both the remodeling and new construction markets. Riverside’s capital has allowed us to expand aggressively and their expertise has enabled us to do so efficiently and successfully.”

Working with Gosline from Riverside on the transaction side were Chris Jones, Principal; Will Fogle, Associate; and Solomon Cole, Analyst. Representing Riverside’s operating team on the acquisition were Bill Seelbach, Operating Executive; Hayden Cotterill, Operating Executive, Manufacturing and Quality Control; Tom Snyder, Operating Executive, Finance; and Mike Skelton, Operating Executive, Finance.

The Riverside Company

The Riverside Company is the largest global private equity firm focused on the smaller end of the middle market (“SEMM”) and is one of the industry’s most experienced leveraged buyout investors. Riverside specializes in investing in premier SEMM companies (those valued up to $200 million) and partners with strong management teams to build companies through acquisitions and value-added growth. Since 1988, the firm has invested in 193 transactions with a total enterprise value of $3.4 billion. Its current portfolio in the U.S., Europe and Asia numbers 62, with combined annual sales of $3 billion, EBITDA of $468 million and more than 14,000 employees. Riverside offers the resources to complete acquisitions smoothly and in as little as 45 days - thanks to its sizeable pool of capital under management (nearly $2 billion in nine funds), over 170 professionals in 17 offices (Amsterdam, Atlanta, Brussels, Budapest, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Los Angeles, Madrid, Munich, New York, Prague, San Francisco, Seoul, Stockholm, Tokyo and Warsaw), and long-standing relationships with partner lenders. Five of seven of the firm’s mature vintages are currently top quartile, and the firm’s investors include the world’s leading pension funds, endowments, funds-of-funds, insurance companies and banks. Please visit www.riversidecompany.com and www.riversideeurope.com for more information.

Monessen Hearth Systems

Monessen Hearth Systems, headquartered in Paris, Kentucky, is a rapidly growing manufacturer and distributor of gas, wood, and electric hearth products and accessories. MHSC designs and manufactures a full line of fireplaces, stoves, gas logs and accessories under such brand names as Monessen, Lexington Forge, Martin Hearth and Heating and Ambient Technologies, as well as Vermont Castings and Majestic added with the acquisition the assets of CFM Corporation’s specialty hearth business. Its customers include wholesale distributors and dealers serving the remodeling aftermarket, as well as installing distributors and dealers serving the new home construction market. To learn more, please visit the company’s web site at www.monessenhearth.com.

Media Contact

Stephanie Fraser
Marketing Consultant
The Riverside Company
Cleveland: +1 216 344 1267
London: +44 20 3077 1923