Sterling Group to sell Liqui-Box after nearly four years

Olympus Partners is buying Liqui-Box Holdings Inc from the Sterling Group, according to an FTC filing and a source.

It’s unclear how much Olympus is paying, but a banking source said Liqui-Box sold for around $300 million.

Richmond, Virginia-based Liqui-Box supplies bag-in-box flexible packaging to the global dairy, beverage and bulk food markets. The company has $35 million in EBITDA and was seeking bids of 9-10x, the source said.

“It’s a good business,” the source said. “But it’s not obvious what would make the business sell for 10x. In packaging, it has to be something wildly unique to get double digits.”

Sterling Group put Liqui-Box up for sale earlier this year, sources said. The firm tapped Harris Williams to find a buyer.

Founded in 1982, Sterling invests between $40 million and $100 million equity in companies in sectors such as manufacturing, distribution and industrial service.

Houston-based Sterling Group acquired Liqui-Box in December 2011 from DuPont Co for an undisclosed amount. DuPont had paid $333 million for Liqui-Box in 2002, according to press reports.

Sterling bought the company with its third fund, which closed at $820 million in 2010. Sterling raised $1.25 billion for its fourth fund in July.

Sterling Group Partners III producied a 25.04 percent average IRR and a 1.65x average multiple as of March 31, data provider Bison said.

Executives for Sterling, Olympus and Harris Williams could not be reached for comment.

Action Item: Liqui-Box can be reach at its corporate headquarters in Richmond, Virginia at (804) 325-1400.

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