Don Dykstra was looking for three things when suitors came calling at his land-rich, eight-year-old Dallas-Fort Worth-based home building company.
“One, to get a little money off the table,” recalls the president/owner of Bloomfield homes. He and his wife wholly owned the company they built from scratch and he thought it was time to diversify their investments.
“Second was to partner with somebody who would allow us to continue to run it, to allow Bloomfield Homes to reach its full potential,” he says.
Third was to provide an environment where the company’s culture could continue providing a good fit and opportunities its employees.
Dykstra accomplished all three objectives in July when Sumitomo Forestry Co., a giant multi-national Japanese-owned company, bought half the business from Dykstra and his wife. The deal, initiated by an introduction from by Residential Strategies, was in the works since December 2012.
“They have left us in charge,” Dykstra says.
After the sale, Rich Ichikawa CEO of Sumitomo Forestry and Dykstra had a meeting with Brookfield's employees and contractors to assure them business will continue as usual.
Sumitomo Forestry did not put cash into the business, but 300-year-old Japanese company’s part ownership makes Brookfield stronger financially in the eyes of banks. “The financial strength will allow us to be strategically more aggressive,” the builder says.
That means Brookfield, which assembled 3,500 entitled lots during the downturn, can develop more quickly. In 2012, Bloomfield, No. 79 on the BUILDER 100, closed 402 homes and had gross revenue of $89 million. This year, the builder expects to close 600 -- and that’s just in Dallas.
In Sumitomo, Dykstra thinks he found the perfect fit for his firm's goals, but letting him manage with little interference is unusual in American culture, Dykstra says.
“Most American companies are not comfortable with a 50-50 culture," Dykstra said. "For the Japanese, their desire is to work together to provide a solution for everybody, consensus–based management.”
Sumitomo also has another strong trait, says Dykstra: patience. “They are a huge timber company," he notes. "When you plant forests as part of your business, you have a long-term perspective.”
Teresa Burney is a senior editor for BUILDER.
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Dallas, TX.