Stellex Adds to Specialty Transporter
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Stellex Adds to Specialty Transporter

Grammer Industries, a portfolio company of Stellex Capital Management, has acquired Sterling Transport.

Sterling is a third generation family-owned business founded by the Hinton family in 1939. The company is a transporter of hazardous and specialty chemicals and materials including propane, natural gas liquids, cement, fly ash, asphalt emulsions, sand, and salt.

Sterling serves customers in the Southeast, the Midwest, as well as the East Coast and states further west, including Texas. The company is based near Raleigh in Vass, NC (www.sterlingtransport.com).

Grammer is a provider of transportation and logistics services for specialty and hazardous chemicals including anhydrous ammonia, liquefied petroleum gases, carbon dioxide, and nitric acid. The company’s services include transportation, transloading, terminaling, and handling of chemicals and hazardous materials. The company has more than 250 drivers and a fleet of more than 350 specialty tankers. Customers of Grammer include more than 120 industrial and agricultural customers that are active in fertilizer production, food production, power generation and chemical manufacturing. Grammer was founded in 1968 by Charles “Shorty” Whittington in Grammer, IN as an over-the-road transporter of grain and dry fertilizer serving the agricultural industry in Southeast Indiana. Today, the company is headquartered in Columbus, IN and has 17 facilities located near major chemical production hubs across the United States (www.grammerindustries.com).

Stellex acquired Grammar from Linx Partners in September 2018, in partnership with the founding Whittington family and company management including CEO Bart Middleton and Vice President John Whittington (the son of the company’s founder).

On a combined basis Grammar and Sterling Transport now serve 2,000 delivery points serving and more than 500 customers through 22 terminals, 350 tractors, 850 specialty trailers and over 500 drivers and owner-operators. “The strategic combination of Grammer and Sterling greatly advances our vision to establish a leading US specialty logistics company,” said Mr. Whittington.

“The acquisition of Sterling is part of our continued investment into the growth and expansion of Grammer’s transportation and logistics platform,” said Michael Stewart, managing partner of Stellex. “There are many similarities between the companies. Both operate in similar regions, haul similar core products and share a similar culture of safety and training. The combined company will benefit from complementary geographies, commodities, fleet, facilities and drivers, substantially increasing the overall scale with operational overlap, and providing more opportunity for growth through the expanded entity.”

Stellex invests from $25 million to $100 million in United States or Europe-based companies with enterprise values from $50 million to $500 million. Sectors of interest include automotive, aerospace, building products, defense, industrial equipment, metal fabrication and transportation. Stellex has offices in New York and London (www.stellexcapital.com).

Houlihan Lokey (www.HL.com), FINNEA Group (www.finneagroup.com), and KSM Business Services (www.ksmcpa.com) were the advisors to Grammer on the transaction.

Confluence Advisors, an investment bank based in Wexford, PA (www.confluenceadvisorsllc.com) was the financial advisor to Sterling and the Hinton family.

© 2019 Private Equity Professional | April 3, 2019

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