Trivest earns 4.3x on sale of Hazmasters to Wesco

Trivest Partners, the Florida-based mid-market firm that focuses on deals with company founders and families, earned a 4.3x gross multiple on the sale of industrial distribution firm Hazmasters to Wesco International in a deal that closed on March 17, according to a source familiar with the deal.

Tapping most of the capital for the deal from Trivest Fund IV, which closed on US$325 milllion in 2008, the Coral Gables, Florida-based buyout shop bought the Ontario-based distributor of protective gear, respiratory equipment and fall protection systems in November 2011 from its founder Randy Myers. Myers reinvested in the company, and Trivest brought 14 Hazmasters managers into the ownership group.

Hazmasters and Trivest then worked to open three new branches and complete two acquisitions to expand the company’s geographic reach and service offerings to create the largest privately-held safety products distributor in Canada.

Sales grew more than 50 percent to US$85 million and EBITDA doubled during Trivest’s ownership period of about 2.4 years. Trivest achieved a gross annualized IRR of 84 percent on the deal. The transaction price was not disclosed.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to the Hazmasters management team for flawlessly executing on the strategy laid out at the outset of our investment,” Chip Vandenberg, a Trivest partner, told Buyouts. He declined to comment on the exit multiple.

All told, Trivest has completed more than 12 acquisitions in Canada in the past 10 years, including ATX Networks from Fund IV and Herbal Magic from Trivest Fund III.

Other distributor businesses its its portfolio include SR Sales, a supplier of authorized industrial spare parts, North Star Seafood, the largest distributor of fresh and frozen seafood in Florida, and AM Conservation, a supplier of energy and water conservation products.

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