Olympus acquired Innovative XCessories & Services (“IXS”) in August 2014, a business built around upfitting pickup trucks, specifically spray-on bedliners. The investment was the culmination of a multi-year thesis around pickup trucks – that their increasingly refined interiors and rising fuel economy would significantly broaden the consumer base.
IXS had two divisions: Aftermarket, which was the franchisor of the Line-X network of bedliner applicators, and OEM, which provided upfitting services to manufacturers of pickup trucks. Line-X pioneered the use of spray-on bedliners as an aftermarket upgrade and additionally was the largest retailer of bedliners in the U.S. and Canada. Through its OEM division, IXS developed a novel method of applying bedliners at high volume using robotics, which allowed auto manufacturers to start offering bedliners as a factory option. Auto OEM’s were in the early stages of embracing bedliners when Olympus made its investment.
Olympus took significant actions to drive growth:
- Invested aggressively in the OEM facility network, increasing production capacity by over 5x with seven new OEM sites across North America. By 2019 IXS was exclusively supplying nine of the ten largest truck plants in North America and was awarded supplier of the year multiple times by General Motors, Fiat-Chrysler and Toyota
- The Line-X store was modernized and aggressively expanded into truck accessories with the launch of proprietary Truck Gear line. Marketing spend was increased substantially, with focus on digital. Store count increased by 20% and same-store-sales steadily grew despite the explosive growth IXS was enjoying installing bedliners for the OEMs
- The Company significantly expanded its international reach, opening OEM facilities in Thailand and South Africa and using acquisitions to strengthen Line-X’s position in Europe and Mexico
- The Company vertically integrated its supply chain, solidifying the IP rights to all of its important formulations while at the same time reducing the cost of its key chemical inputs
In the 5 years that Olympus owned IXS, the Company grew organic revenue over 250% while increasing EBITDA by over 4x.