H.I.G. nears $1 billion deal for Vantage Specialty Chemicals: Reuters

H.I.G. Capital is nearing a deal to re-acquire Vantage Specialty Chemicals, a US manufacturer of natural additives for personal care, food, consumer and industrial end markets, from fellow private equity firm The Jordan Company for around US$1 billion, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

A deal could be announced as soon as this week, according to the sources, who asked not be named because the matter is private and negotiations are ongoing.

If a sale is successful, it would come as consumers increasingly demand transparency on product ingredients in support of healthier and more environmentally-conscious lifestyle choices, and manufacturers of all stripes attempt to cash in on the behavioral shift.

US consumer sales of natural, organic and healthy products are forecasted to grow 64% to US$252bn by 2019 from US$153bn in 2013, according to NEXT Forecast.

“The deal is definitely on trend,” a senior banker said. “Everyone today is trying to call their products natural.”

Jordan Company declined to comment. H.I.G. did not respond to requests for comment.

Recent deal making in the space includes US specialty chemicals company Ashland Global Holdings’ acquisition of Pharmachem Laboratories, a global provider of custom and branded nutritional and nutraceutical ingredients for the food and beverage, flavor, and fragrance industries, for US$660m in May.

The purchase price represented a multiple of roughly 10.5 times Pharmachem’s estimated 2017 Ebitda, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, according to company filings.

Vantage was marketed off about US$97m of annual Ebitda, which translates to a transaction multiple of around 10 times, one of the sources said.

The sale would mark the return of Vantage’s ownership to H.I.G., which sold the Illinois-based company to Jordan in 2012. H.I.G. formed Vantage in 2008 through the acquisition of Croda International’s US oleochemical business, and then grew the business through the subsequent roll-ups of Lambent Technologies in 2008 and Lipo Chemicals in 2010.

The company most recently purchased oils, ingredients and custom food processing equipment manufacturer Mallet & Company in 2016.