May River Launches Specialty Coatings Strategy

May River Capital has partnered with industry executive Jeff Oravitz to seek and acquire a specialty coatings and materials company. Steve Griesemer and Chip Grace, both partners at Chicago-based May River, are coordinating the search for the new platform.

For almost 11 years Mr. Oravitz was with MetoKote, most recently as president, which was acquired by PPG Industries in June 2016 from Platinum Equity. Lima, OH-based MetoKote applies coatings to customers’ manufactured parts and assembled products. It operates on-site coatings services within several customer manufacturing locations, as well as at regional service centers, located throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, the UK, Germany, Hungary and the Czech Republic.  MetoKote grew to nearly $200 million in global revenue and more than 1,500 employees across 29 facilities under Mr. Oravitz’s leadership. In September 2017, Mr. Oravitz led PPG’s acquisition of The Crown Group, a Warren, MI-based provider of coating services, from High Road Capital Partners. In total, Mr. Oravitz has nearly 30 years of specialty chemicals experience.

“I am very pleased to partner with May River Capital in the development of a new platform,” said Mr. Oravitz.  “The specialty coatings and materials space presents many opportunities for investment and development and is well aligned with my background and the resources of May River Capital.”

The new platform sought by May River will be a North American-based manufacturer or value-added distributor of coatings, adhesives, sealants, elastomers, surface treatments, or plastics and specialty materials. The company should have at least $10 million in revenue and $3 million of EBITDA; opportunities with less than $3 million in EBITDA will be evaluated as potential add-on investments.

“When there is a compelling opportunity to partner with an industry executive who is extensively credentialed in one of our target growth sectors, we will conduct a focused search alongside the executive,” said Mr. Griesemer.  “Jeff will also be joining May River’s Executive Resource Group, a collection of experienced operators who hail from world-class organizations and institutions.  He will work with our core team to evaluate new opportunities, assist in platform optimization, and, in the case of this executive-led strategy, take a leadership role in a new platform company.”

Chicago-based May River invests from $15 million to $40 million of equity in companies with enterprise values of $15 million to $75 million. Sectors of interest include precision manufacturing, engineered products, specialized industrial services, and value-added industrial distribution.

May River has successfully executed other executive-led strategies, including partnerships with Brad Sterner, CEO of Hunt Valve, a Salem, OH-based maker of valves and components used in severe-duty applications in the fluid power industry (acquired in February 2016); Rick Weiler, CEO of The Dickson Company, an Addison, IL-based provider of test and measurement instrumentation and related software tools (acquired in April 2018); and Chris Stevens, CEO of Industrial Flow Solutions, a holding company for BJM Pumps (acquired in August 2017) and Stancor Pumps, both are Connecticut-based makers of submersible pumps and pumping controls systems.

May River was founded in February 2012 and closed its inaugural fund, May River Fund I LP, in March 2017 with total commitments of $170 million. The new fund was raised in just six months and closed above target (

© 2019 Private Equity Professional | July 10, 2019

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