Graham Partners has completed its initial investment in the food processing technology space, having formed UCS & UPC Holdings Company to acquire Universal Cold Storage and Universal Pasteurization (Universal), providers of cold storage and high pressure pasteurization services.
“We have established ourselves as the nation’s leading independent high pressure pasteurization service provider,” said John Jacobson, Universal’s founder and CEO. “Our industry leading reputation for unmatched customer service and state-of-the-art facilities enables us to offer an unbeatable solution. Graham is the ideal partner for Universal with its strategic vision and broad operating resources.”
Universal is a provider of cold storage, high pressure pasteurization, and other value-added services to domestic food manufacturers. The company is based in Lincoln, NE (www.universalcoldstorage.com).
High pressure pasteurization (HPP) is a non-thermal, non-chemical based method of pasteurization. Demand for HPP is driven by its ability to offer enhanced food safety while enabling food manufacturers to offer all-natural products with improved nutritional value and extended product shelf life. In Universal’s case, a conversion is underway towards HPP from traditional methods of pasteurization, creating the opportunity for growth as penetration continues. Industry research suggests that adoption of HPP may increase as much as 20-30% annually as consumer awareness increases and the technology continues to gain acceptance. Graham Partners proactively identified HPP as an attractive investment niche and initiated a direct calling effort targeting businesses in the industry, which yielded the Universal acquisition opportunity.
“Graham’s focused sourcing efforts paid off,” said Andrew Snyder, Managing Principal at Graham Partners. “We believe this is the ideal time to invest in the HPP niche, where Universal has established itself as the industry leader. Universal’s complementary value-added services offering has enabled Universal to become a key strategic partner with its customers. We are excited to work with the management team to further expand the business and drive strategic growth initiatives.”
Graham Partners seeks to acquire industrial companies with revenues between $30 million and $500 million that participate in manufacturing niches where it can leverage its combination of operating resources and financial expertise. The firm is sponsored by the Graham Group, an industrial and investment concern with interests in plastics, packaging, machinery, building products and outsource manufacturing. Graham Partners is headquartered in Philadelphia (www.grahampartners.net).
© 2012 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 12-20-12