Trive Exits Southern Towing

Trive Capital has sold Southern Towing Company to CC Industries. Trive acquired Southern Towing in September 2012 in partnership with McCombs Partners.

Southern Towing Company (STC) is an inland tank barge operator specializing in the transportation of anhydrous ammonia and bulk liquid fertilizer products throughout the Mississippi River System and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.

The company also provides towing services for other commodities, including refined petroleum, chemicals, coal, grain, and aggregates. STC, led by CEO Ed Grimm, was founded in 1958 by Baxter Southern and is headquartered in Memphis (www.southerntowing.net).

During Trive’s more than six years of ownership both sales and earnings grew substantially. Trive and STC were active in increasing the company’s service offerings and investing in the company’s fleet including building several state-of-the-art Z-drive vessels.  A Z-drive (azimuth thruster) is a type of marine propulsion unit that can rotate 360 degrees allowing for rapid changes in thrust direction and vessel direction. Z-drives eliminates the need for conventional rudders and are more efficient because they focus all the engine’s force toward pushing the boat in the direction the pilot wants. With a traditional rudder, much of the thrust gets deflected – and wasted – as the water is directed away at an angle which creates resistance and drag.

“We are incredibly grateful to STC’s management team for their partnership and value creation,” said Conner Searcy, a managing partner at Trive. “The combination of strategic capital, operational efficiencies and new growth avenues, led to a significant increase in shareholder value. We wish the STC team well in their new partnership with CC Industries.”

CC Industries is the holding and management company for the Crown family’s privately held operating companies and it operates as a subsidiary of Henry Crown & Company. CC Industries was founded in 1986 and is headquartered in Chicago (no website found).

“STC is a remarkable business with a long history of excellence,” said Bill Crown, president and chief executive officer of CC Industries. “We are delighted to add Southern Towing to the CC Industries family of operating companies.”

Current portfolio companies of CC Industries include Gillig, a manufacturer of diesel- and hybrid-electric-powered transit buses (Hayward, CA); Great Dane Trailers, a manufacturer of commercial truck trailers (Chicago, IL); J.L. Clark, a maker of decorative tin, plastic, and aluminum packaging containers (Rockford, IL); Miracapo Pizza Company, a private label maker of frozen pizzas sold through the retail and foodservice channels (Elk Grove Village, IL); Provisur Technologies, a manufacturer of food processing equipment (Chicago, IL); Riverside Rail, a provider of freight railcar leasing services (Chicago, IL); Selig, a manufacturer of closure liners and films used in food, beverage, and pharmaceutical applications (Chicago, IL); and Trail King Industries, a maker of specialized trailers used in construction, agriculture, and transportation applications (Mitchell, SD).

The investments of Henry Crown & Company are varied and the company dates to 1919 when Henry Crown and his brothers started Material Service Corporation, which in 1958 merged into General Dynamics. The Crown family still owns 10% of General Dynamics and the family’s net worth is currently estimated at $8.8 billion.

Trive invests from $10 million to $150 million of debt or equity in North America-headquartered companies with revenues of $40 million to $1.5 billion. The firm is industry-agnostic but has specific experience across a wide range of sectors including aerospace and defense, automotive, building products, business services, chemicals, and consumer goods. In September 2017, Trive held a final closing of Trive Capital Fund III LP with $1 billion of capital commitments. The firm was founded in 2012 by Conner Searcy and Chris Zugaro and is based in Dallas (www.trivecapital.com).

© 2019 Private Equity Professional | June 10, 2019

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