NEP Exits Actagro

Norwest Equity Partners (NEP) has sold Actagro, a developer, manufacturer and marketer of soil and plant health products, to publicly-traded Nutrien for $340 million.

Actagro develops, manufactures, and markets plant nutrient products including fertilizers, fungicides, soil amendments, plant stimulants, and micronutrients. Actagro distributes its products globally through numerous retailers and distributors, including Nutrien’s retail business.

The company, with approximately 130 employees, was founded in 1980 and is headquartered in Fresno, CA with manufacturing facilities in Biola, CA and Osceola, AR (www.actagro.com).

“Being a part of the NEP family of portfolio companies has been a natural fit for us,” said Monty Bayer, Actagro CEO. “The NEP team provided us with strategic insight and robust resources, and they shared our long-term vision to help us create successful outcomes. NEP worked side-by-side with us to build Actagro into a stronger company and position us for a successful sale to Nutrien. We couldn’t have asked for a better investment partner.”

Norwest Equity Partners acquired Actagro in December 2011. Over the term of its investment, Actagro more than doubled employee headcount, increased R&D capacity, accelerated product launches by 52%, and realized revenue and EBITDA growth by 71 percent and 78 percent, respectively.

“Actagro’s products have a strong track record of increasing crop productivity and financial returns for growers. It has been rewarding to partner with a company who positively influences environmental sustainability and helps increase food production for the world. Our partnership with Actagro has been terrific, and we are excited to watch their continued success with Nutrien,” said Todd Solow, an NEP partner.

Nutrien (TSX: NTR) is the largest producer of potash and the second largest producer of nitrogen fertilizer in the world. The company, headquartered in Saskatoon, SK, has more than 1,500 retail stores and more than 20,000 employees. Nutrien was formed through the merger of PotashCorp and Agrium in January 2018 (www.nutrien.com).

NEP makes equity investments of $30 million to $250 million in companies that have more than $10 million in EBITDA. Sectors of interest include agriculture, business services, consumer, distribution, industrials, energy, and healthcare. In April 2015, NEP closed Norwest Equity Partners X LP, a $1.6 billion fund and Norwest Mezzanine Partners IV LP, an $800 million fund formed by NEP’s affiliated mezzanine investment firm, Norwest Mezzanine Partners. NEP is based in Minneapolis (www.nep.com).

Lazard Middle Market (www.lazardmm.com) was the financial advisor to Actagro on this transaction.

© 2019 Private Equity Professional | March 19, 2019

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