Hanover Backs Plastic-To-Aluminum Shift

Hanover Partners has acquired Ska Fabricating (Sky Fab), a maker of specialty packaging equipment.

Ska Fab designs, manufactures, and distributes packaging equipment that is used predominantly in beverage canning but is also used in other canning and glass packaging applications in the food, industrial, consumer product, and pharmaceutical sectors.

Ska Fab specializes in small footprint, semi-automated palletizers and depalletizers that are capable of rapidly loading and unloading multiple sized packages of aluminum, glass, and other metal containers at high speed. The Durango, Colorado-based company also makes pre-fill and post-fill rinsing equipment as well as tabletop conveyors.

Customers of Ska Fab include craft beer and cider breweries, craft distilleries, and non-alcoholic beverage ready-to-drink developers (kombucha, sparkling water, soda, orange juice, coffee and tea), food processors, and other non-food/beverage customers. Ska Fab has an installed base of equipment at more than 1,000 customers with locations in all 50 states and 24 countries. The company was founded in 2012 but began its operations years earlier as a maker of depalletizing equipment for Durango-based Ska Brewing (named after “ska” – a Jamaican music genre).

“Two long-term secular trends identified by Hanover include the widespread shift from plastic to aluminum single-serve beverage containers and the increasing number of ready-to-drink beverage categories,” said Aaron Aiken, a partner at Hanover. “To execute this investment strategy, we initiated a pro-active search to identify companies benefiting from and shaping these growing markets, and we were fortunate enough to meet Matt and his talented team of executives and employees. The company’s profile is highly-consistent with our over 25-year focus of backing management teams of niche market, proprietary-product and engineered equipment manufacturers. Ska Fab demonstrated exceptional performance during otherwise challenging economic times in 2020, and we are thrilled to support this team.”

The company’s co-founders and senior management team will maintain an equity interest in the company in partnership with Hanover and will continue to operate the business.

“We met Hanover over a year ago and stayed in regular contact as we maintained rapid growth during 2020,” said Matthew Vincent, a co-founder of Sky Fab. “My partner, Dan Morris, and our management team believed Hanover’s prior success in the packaging equipment space, and their overall experience with mid-sized manufacturing companies would further fuel our growth, both organically and with add-on acquisitions.”

“We’re privileged to partner with Ska Fab’s founders and management team to support its continued growth in the dynamic packaging marketplace,” said Andy Ford, a partner at Hanover. “In a short time, this team has established Ska Fab as the go-to brand for automated de-palletizing systems in the craft beer market and has begun to leverage that reputation in a host of other markets. We look forward to assisting the company’s expansion while it continues to provide its customers with best-in-class packaging solutions.”

Hanover Partners makes control investments in lower middle-market companies that are active in the specialty equipment, industrial equipment, niche branded consumer products and non-consumer software sectors. Typical targets will have enterprise values of $8 million to $60 million, revenues of at least $8 million, and adjusted EBIT of $1.5 million to $8 million.

With the addition of Sky Fab, Hanover now has seven active portfolio companies located across the United States. Hanover was founded in 1994 by John Palmer and Andrew Ford and has offices in the Portland suburb of Lake Oswego and in San Francisco.

Centerfield Capital Partners provided subordinated debt to support the buy of Sky Fab and it also made an equity co-investment. Indianapolis-based Centerfield provides from $7 million to $35 million of subordinated debt and equity financing to middle-market companies that have $15 million to $100 million of revenue and $3 million to $15 million of EBITDA. In January 2018, the firm held a final closing of its fourth mezzanine debt and equity fund at the hard cap of $335 million.

© 2021 Private Equity Professional | January 13, 2021

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