Paine & Partners has created a new platform investment, Verdesian Life Sciences, to focus on investments in plant health and nutrition. Simultaneous with the formation of Verdesian, the company has completed its first acquisition with the purchase of Biagro Western Sales, which focuses on technologies used to develop plant health and plant nutrition products in agricultural markets globally.
Biagro Western produces plant nutrition products that are used to grow healthier plants and to improve crop yields. The company’s current product portfolio includes Nutri-Phite® phosphite plant nutrition products and Take Off ST. Biagro Western is based in Visalia, CA (www.biagro.com).
“We are pleased to announce that Paine & Partners has formed a new platform company, Verdesian Life Sciences, to invest globally in plant health and nutrition and are excited to have completed Verdesian’s first investment in Biagro Western,” said Kevin Schwartz, a founding Partner at Paine & Partners. “Plant health and nutrition are important aspects of the agribusiness value chain, and we see increasing opportunities for growth and investment in those areas. Biagro Western has a strong management team and proven, proprietary technology that have earned it the reputation for providing the highest quality products in its category. We look forward to working with the Biagro Western team and JJ Grow, an entrepreneur with a proven track record, significant experience and an extensive network in the crop protection industry.”
JJ Grow will serve as Chief Executive Officer of Verdesian. Mr. Grow was Executive Vice President in charge of Sales for Nufarm Americas, where he was responsible for building and maintaining relationships with key national distribution partners. Prior to that, in 2003, Mr. Grow started Gro-Pro/Etigra, a turf, ornamental, aquatic, forestry and crop protection business, before selling to Nufarm Limited in 2008. Earlier in his career, Mr. Grow worked at several other agricultural companies, including United Agri-Products, Novartis Crop Protection, American Cyanamid and Merck Agvet. Mr. Grow received a BS in Food & Resource Economics from the University of Florida. Mr. Grow also recently served as COO of Purfresh, a startup company that provides shippers with innovative atmospheric technology to reduce food ripening and decay without the use of chemicals.
“I am excited to lead Verdesian and to work with Paine & Partners and the Biagro Western team to execute a strategy of growing through disciplined and targeted acquisitions that build on Biagro Western’s strong foundation and create expanded market opportunities,” said Mr. Grow. “Verdesian will leverage the agribusiness expertise and the resources of the Paine & Partners team to expand its infrastructure and enhance Verdesian’s growth capabilities.”
Biagro Western’s management team will continue with Verdesian (www.VLSci.com). Peter Alvitre will serve as Chief Operating Officer of Biagro Western and Nigel Grech will serve as the company’s Chief Science Officer. Ray Copeland, who served as President of Biagro Western, will retire after a long and successful career at the company.
Paine & Partners provides equity capital for management buyouts, going private transactions, and company expansion and growth programs. The firm, with $1.2 billion of capital under management, has offices in San Mateo, CA; New York, NY and Chicago, IL (www.painepartners.com).
© 2012 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 9-11-12