Cavco Industries announces planned acquisition of Solitaire Homes 

PRESIDIO — Last week, manufactured housing giant Cavco Industries, Inc. announced that it intends to purchase Solitaire Homes in a $93 million dollar deal. Solitaire — which has a materials warehouse in Presidio and two manufacturing facilities in Ojinaga — employs around 500 people between the two cities, making it one of biggest employers in the area. 

Solitaire’s facilities in Presidio-Ojinaga send between three and five prefabricated homes across the international bridge every day. The raw materials for these homes are stored in Presidio and assembled in Ojinaga before being shipped off to their destination — more often than not, to retail stores in the Permian Basin. 

Cowan — an independent consultant who serves as the local spokesman for Solitaire — stressed that the buyout wasn’t a result of dwindling business. “This past two years, we could have sold twice as many houses if we had them to sell,” he explained. “In the [manufactured housing] industry, it’s pretty commonly known that Solitaire has the best value.” 

Bill Boor, CEO of Cavco Industries, spoke about the promise of Solitaire’s continued success at an investors meeting on October 28, where the deal was discussed. “Opportunities come when the seller’s ready to sell and isn’t necessarily due to market factors,” he said. Cavco Industries did not respond to requests for additional comment on the acquisition.

In 2021, Solitaire sold 1,557 homes produced in four facilities in Oklahoma, New Mexico and Ojinaga. The company employs around 950 people in total and operates 22 retail stores. Solitaire’s concentration in the region made the company an attractive prospect to Cavco — Cavco is headquartered in Phoenix, but most of its facilities are located east of the Mississippi River. 

Solitaire’s operation in Presidio and Ojinaga is a classic example of a “twin plant” or maquiladora facility, in which American companies close to the border operate factories on the Mexican side, where labor is cheaper and more widely available. Last year, maquiladora facilities produced 58% of Mexico’s manufacturing GDP and 48% of its industrial employment.

Cowan offered a rebuttal to the common perception that maquiladora facilities exist solely to take advantage of lower Mexican labor costs. It was originally his idea to set up Solitaire facilities in Presidio and Ojinaga — much of the region’s available labor was sapped by the oilfields whenever the market boomed. “We came to the border to get an adequate, available supply of labor,” he explained.  

The twin plant concept was an attractive concept to Cavco, whose 27 existing facilities are all on American soil. “[Solitaire] has been very smart about how they’ve handled the Mexico operations and it’s paid off very well for them,” Boor said. 

The daily do-si-do of towing prefab homes across the Presidio International Bridge and all over the Permian Basin has also earned Solitaire a company-wide reputation in logistics. Solitaire operates all of its transport in-house, from production to the salesfloor and beyond — an advantageous quality in an era where COVID has dramatically increased shipping costs. “[Solitaire] has a dedicated transportation operation, which is a strength because logistics has become such a challenge,” Boor said. 

The deal is still technically in preliminary stages — as a publicly-traded company, Cavco has to wait for a shareholder vote before the acquisition can be formally rubber-stamped. 

Cowan was optimistic about the transition. “Cavco is recognized as a very high-quality product — they go after well-run companies that require very little meddling,” he said. No layoffs were expected to follow the transition — just a shift from private stakeholders to public ones. “There won’t be any noticeable change down here.”