High Road Enters Specialty Chemicals

High Road Capital Partners has acquired U-C Coatings, a manufacturer and distributor of specialty coatings and sealants used in the North American wood and lumber markets, from Argosy Private Equity and Sidereal Capital Group which together acquired the company in November 2013.

U-C Coatings’ wood protection products and end paints are used to conserve and protect hardwood logs and lumber. The company’s products includes ANCHORSEAL which is used to prevent logs and lumber from prematurely drying and cracking; GEMPAINT lumber tagging paints are used to differentiate lumber bundles; and SEAL-ONCE waterproofers create a protective water barrier within wood, concrete and masonry. The company is headquartered in Buffalo (www.uccoatings.com).

U-C Coatings is led by its President Tom Johel and Executive Vice President of Sales Tim Cutler. They will continue to be active with the company under High Road ownership. “Our superior products have a proven impact on the bottom line for lumber yards, saw mills and log exporters by increasing production yields,” said Mr. Johel. “In addition, our SEAL-ONCE formulations are preferred by craftspeople and manufacturers who demand environmentally friendly products and premium performance. Partnering with High Road gives us the resources to continue to innovate and better serve our customers.”

High Road teamed with chemical industry expert Jeff Leone to evaluate this investment opportunity. Mr. Leone was recently CEO of Rutland Group, a manufacturer of coatings and inks and a portfolio company of The Riverside Company (Riverside sold Rutland to PolyOne Corporation in June 2017), and previously led the coatings division of BASF and the North and South American operations for global chemical supplier Mapei. “U-C Coatings is an ideal platform for building a broader specialty chemicals business focused on coatings and adhesives technologies,” said Mr. Leone. “With this first transaction closed, we will now seek both organic growth and acquisition opportunities for the company.”

“U-C Coatings, with its market leadership in wood protection, is ideally positioned for expansion,” said Jeffrey Goodrich, a Partner at High Road who led this transaction. “Wood protection practices are progressively being adopted both in North America and other wood-producing regions and exports of North American hardwoods are growing. We see an immediate opportunity to expand U-C Coatings’ distribution globally.” Working on this transaction with Mr. Goodrich were Eojin Lee, Vice President; James Karle, Senior Associate; and Marc Rosenberg, Associate.

High Road invests in manufacturing, service, or value-added distribution businesses with revenues of $10 million to $100 million and EBITDAs of $3 million to $10 million.  High Road has completed 47 transactions – 18 platform investments, 23 add-on acquisitions and six exits – since its founding in 2007.  The firm is based in New York (www.highroadcap.com).

Madison Capital Funding, the middle market lending subsidiary of New York Life Insurance Company, provided financing for the transaction (www.mcfllc.com).

© 2018 Private Equity Professional | January 11, 2018

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