Kummer Looks to FMI to Facilitate Sale of HBE Corp

{HBE Corp's 50K sq ft, $73M Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital in Goleta, CA currently under construction – image from hbecorp.com}

According to WhoLou sources, HBE Corp. president and CEO, Fred Kummer has hired North Carolina-based engineering and construction consulting firm FMI to help facilitate the sale of his interest in the company. Having played a role planning, designing, or building more than 1,000 hospitals since founding the firm in 1960 Kummer has built HBE Corp. into a leader in national healthcare design-build construction and one of the largest privately held companies in the St. Louis area.

HBE Corp. employs approximately 300 people and is headquartered in Creve Coeur. During the early 2000s the company was also the largest designer and builder of financial institutions, credit unions, savings and loans and banks in the country. HBE Corp. revenue was reportedly down nearly 9% in 2011 from 2010 to just over $279 million. According to the St. Louis Business Journal HBE Corp. ranked No. 63 on its 2012 list of the top 150 privately held companies in St. Louis and recently ranked first on Modern Healthcare’s Top 10 list of hospital design/build firms in the country.

WhoLou sources further allege that FMI previously was involved with HBE Corp. in 2008 when Kummer initiated an employee stock ownership plan that transferred some control to employees but left him and his wife retaining majority ownership in the company. Prospective buyers have allegedly been turned off by the sale because Kummer is still very active in day-to-day operations at HBE Corp. and the octogenarian plans on staying involved in some capacity the next two or three years.

Kummer’s official reply to WhoLou requesting information regarding the hiring of FMI and the potential sale of his interest in HBE Corp. was, “No comment.”

UPDATE 10/31/2012 – Fred Kummer reached out to WhoLou Wednesday morning wishing to now comment. Kummer told WhoLou that he does have a succession problem but denied source information regarding currently having a contract with FMI. Kummer further explained that he has had a business relationship with FMI over the last 30 years. Though Kummer told WhoLou that he does not have the firm currently under contract he also admitted to still receiving counsel from FMI executives he has grown close to over the past three decades.