MPE Adds Cantrell to Bettcher

Bettcher Industries, a manufacturer of food processing equipment and a portfolio company of MPE Partners, has acquired Cantrell.

Cantrell is a manufacturer of equipment and systems used in the poultry processing industry. The company’s products include evisceration and picking equipment, second processing equipment, wing segmenters, vacuum systems, and spare parts.

Cantrell sells its products to poultry processors in the United States, Canada, and Latin America. Cantrell was founded in 1972 and is headquartered in Gainesville, GA (www.cantrell.com).

Dane Woods and Tony Rice, who acquired Cantrell in 2008, will remain in their roles with Cantrell as co-general managers. The operations of Cantrell will be combined with Gainesville, GA-based Gainco, a division of Bettcher Industries that also manufactures equipment used in the poultry processing industry.

MPE acquired Bettcher in October 2017 in partnership with the company’s employee stock ownership plan (formed in October 2014) which retained a significant minority ownership stake in the company.

“This acquisition is an excellent example of the value MPE’s partnership with Bettcher’s ESOP has created, providing the capital required to make growth investments and the transaction expertise required to complete acquisitions,” said Karen Tuleta, a partner at MPE. “We are very excited to partner with Bettcher’s employee owners on this investment.”

Bettcher Industries is a developer and manufacturer of cutting tools used in food processing operations and industrial applications. The company manufactured the first mechanically powered hand-held meat trimmer in 1954 and since then has introduced successive design generations of trimmers which are sold under the Whizard and Bettcher Quantum brand names and are used in meat processing plants in the United States and more than 50 other countries.

Bettcher also manufactures AirShirz pneumatic scissors, which are designed to reduce the pain and fatigue associated with using manual scissors in repetitive cutting activities. AirShirz scissors are used in meat and poultry processing plants and in non-food applications such as cutting engineered fabrics, rubber, and wire mesh. Bettcher was founded in 1944 and is headquartered west of Cleveland in Birmingham, OH (www.bettcher.com) (www.gainco.com).

“We saw a fantastic fit between Bettcher, Gainco, and Cantrell, and believe their shared capabilities and synergy opportunities will accelerate the growth of the combined company,” said Matt Yohe, a partner at MPE.

MPE invests in lower middle market companies that are valued from $25 million to $150 million and have EBITDAs between $5 million and $20 million. Sectors of interest include high-value manufacturing and industrial services. The firm has offices in Cleveland and Boston (www.mpepartners.com).

© 2019 Private Equity Professional | March 25, 2019

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