Chicago, IL – February 10, 2015
Frontenac Company LLC, a leading private equity firm focused on investing in lower middle market, today announced that it has completed a new platform investment with the recapitalization of Van de Vries Spice Corporation and acquisition of SpiceCo. This represents the fifth platform investment in Frontenac X. Financial terms of the transactions were not disclosed.
Headquartered in East Brunswick, New Jersey, Van de Vries Spice Corporation traces its roots back to the 1950s and is a leading importer and processor of spices and seasonings primarily for food manufacturers, foodservice and the nutritional supplement industries. SpiceCo was founded by Andrew Barna in 1966 and is a leading processor and packager of spices primarily focused on the private label retail and foodservices markets. Frontenac is partnering with food industry veteran Pat Mulhern to lead the combined company and position the business for future growth.
The investment is the result of Frontenac's sourcing efforts with Pat Mulhern in the food sector, particularly focused on spices and seasonings. Mr. Mulhern, former President of US Foods' Monarch Food Group, became Chief Executive Officer of the business as part of the transaction. Mr. Mulhern, who also served as a Director at US Foods, President of US Foods' North Star Food Service, Executive Vice President at Vistar Corporation and in various roles at Alliant Foodservice and Kraft Foodservice, stated: "Van de Vries and SpiceCo are spice and seasoning companies with fantastic history, a nice range of capabilities and a strong and diverse customer base. Combined with additional acquisitions and through a partnership with Frontenac, they have the ability to leverage these attributes to deliver above-market growth, and a commitment to quality and innovation."
Elizabeth Williamson, a Vice President at Frontenac said: "We are excited to partner with Pat Mulhern to lead Van de Vries and SpiceCo as a combined entity going forward. We believe that the growing demand for healthy, ready-to-eat and ethnic foods will continue to drive demand for Van de Vries' and SpiceCo's products."
Walter Florence, a Managing Partner at Frontenac, added: "This transaction highlights our continued commitment to our CEO1ST® investing strategy and program. We work in partnership with proven operating leaders to help family or founder-owners as they address complex transition issues of liquidity, management development, and growth planning. Combining financial and human capital, we help business owners achieve their goals and build market leading companies through a commitment to operational excellence and transformational acquisitions. We are looking to build upon this platform through additional acquisitions that will support Pat's strategy."
As part of the recapitalization, Al Swanson joined Mr. Mulhern and Frontenac as an investor and member of the Board of Directors. Mr. Swanson formerly held various executive positions at US Foods, Inc, including Chief Financial Officer and Director. He currently serves as Director at GNAP LLC, Great North Imports, LLC, Next Day Gourmet, L.P., Trans-Porte, Inc. and E & H Distributing, LLC.
Van de Vries is Frontenac's fourth food investment in five years. Frontenac's food sector experience includes investments in Alfalfa's Market, Chipotle, Health Valley Foods, Levy Restaurants, Mercer Foods, Wenner Bread Products and Whitebridge Pet Brands.
Frontenac's investment in Van de Vries was funded from Frontenac X Private Capital, a private equity fund whose final close was in 2014 with $250 million of committed capital. USBank provided financing for the transaction. Winston & Strawn LLP served as legal counsel to Frontenac.
Frontenac is a leading private equity firm, based in Chicago. The firm focuses on investing in lower middle market buyout transactions in the food, industrial, and services industries. Frontenac works in partnership with proven operating leaders, through our executive-centric approach called CEO1ST, to identify, acquire, and build market leading companies through transformational acquisitions and operational excellence. The firm has built a leading franchise working with over 225 owners of mid-sized businesses, almost always families or founders, as they address complex transition issues of liquidity, management enhancement, and growth planning. For more information, please visit www.frontenac.com.