Platte River Builds At-Height Safety Portfolio

Platte River Equity has made an investment in GME Supply, a distributor of fall protection, safety equipment and related gear for at-height workers in the telecommunications, wind, solar, industrial and construction markets.

GME Supply’s products include fall arrest protection equipment, personal protective gear, harnesses, lanyards, carabiners and hardware, rope and lifelines, rigging, tools and lighting, and safety signage. The company maintains an inventory of products with thousands of SKUs from its suppliers which include 3M, Elk River, FallTech, MSA, Petzl, Klein Tools, PMI, Ergodyne, AB Chance, LiftAll, Honeywell, Milwaukee, and Sterling Rope.

GME is headquartered in Columbia, Missouri with distribution centers in Atlanta (opened in 2015), Dallas (opened in 2018) and Los Angeles (opened in 2019). The company’s Atlanta facility includes a “Safety Experience Zone” where customers can interact with the industry’s newest equipment and a 3,000-square-foot learning center where safety training courses are provided to customers.

GME was founded in 2005 by its CEO Beau Aero, who continues with the company in partnership with Platte River. “We are excited about our new partnership with Platte River,” said Mr. Aero. “We have grown significantly over the last 10 years and believe Platte River’s experience in our markets will help us further achieve our goals.”

“Beau and his management team have built an impressive organization with great customer service and unique product knowledge,” said Peter Calamari, a managing director of Platte River. “We hope to help GME continue to build upon this impressive track record.”

Denver-based Platte River makes equity investments of $20 million to $100 million in lower middle-market companies with enterprise values between $40 million and $250 million. Sectors of interest include aerospace and transportation; energy products and services; industrial products and services; and agriculture and chemicals.

“We have made several investments in companies serving at-height workers and believe GME is well-positioned to take advantage of strong growth in its core end markets,” said Matt Newill, a vice president of Platte River. In January 2019, Platte River acquired a controlling interest in SherrillTree, a Greensboro, North Carolina-based distributor of arborist tools and equipment including ropes, rigging, tools and hardware, safety equipment, clothing, and tree care equipment and supplies.

Equity for the investment in GME was from the firm’s fourth fund, Platte River Equity IV LP, which closed in June 2017 at its hard cap of $625 million.

BMO Capital Markets provided debt financing to support Platte River’s buy of GME Supply.

© 2019 Private Equity Professional | December 5, 2019

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