TorQuest Partners and its co-investors have completed the sale of their majority interest in Kissner Milling Company to an investor group which includes Metalmark Capital, Demetree Salt, and Kissner’s management team. This transaction was first announced on April 20, 2015.
Kissner Milling, which was acquired by TorQuest in November 2013, is a producer and distributor of bulk rock salt and packaged specialty deicing products across North America. Kissner owns and operates a rock salt mine located in Detroit which began operations over 100 years ago and today is considered one of the most efficient and safest rock salt mines in North America. According to the company, its vertically-integrated supply chain for packaged deicing products makes Kissner one of the most cost-competitive producers and distributors in its industry. Kissner Milling is headquartered in Cambridge, ON (www.kissner.com).
In May 2014, just seven months after acquiring the company, TorQuest and its co-investors recapitalized Kissner Milling in order to repurchase the equity of a large shareholder, pre-fund large capital expenditures that would improve operations, and provide for a dividend to shareholders.
During its 18 months of ownership, TorQuest worked with the management team to improve efficiencies at the Detroit salt mine, enhance the supply chain and production mix of the packaged specialty deicing products, divested non-core assets, and increases the company’s long-term salt resources through a joint venture. “On behalf of TorQuest and our investors, we would like to thank Kissner’s management team for their dedication to the company and excellent work over our hold period,” said Daniel Sonshine, a Partner at TorQuest Partners. “Kissner has proven itself as a leader in the de-icing market, and demonstrated an ability to generate strong cash flows through all market cycles. We are very pleased with the result of our first Fund III investment.”
TorQuest makes equity investments of C$15 million to C$100 million in companies with enterprise values of C$40 million to C$250 million that are located in Canada and the US. The firm invests in a range of industries but has a particular interest in manufacturing, business services, financial services, food, consumer products and specialty chemicals. TorQuest was founded in 2002 and has over C$1 billion of equity capital under management. The firm is headquartered in Toronto (www.torquest.com).
Metalmark Capital, the buyer of Kissner, was established by the principals of Morgan Stanley Capital Partners (MSCP) to manage the Metalmark Capital and MSCP funds. Since 1986, the Metalmark Capital and MSCP funds have invested $7 billion of equity capital in over 100 companies. Sectors of interest include healthcare, energy and industrials. Metalmark Capital is currently investing through its latest fund that has $2.5 billion of committed capital. The firm is based in New York (www.metalmarkcapital.com).
2015 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 5-18-15