Wind Point Adds Again to Specialty Chemical Platform
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Wind Point Adds Again to Specialty Chemical Platform

Ascensus Specialties, a portfolio company of Wind Point Partners, has acquired Strem Chemicals.

Strem is a manufacturer of specialty chemicals used in the life sciences and microelectronics sectors. The company’s products include high-purity, research-grade catalysts, ligands, organometallics, metal carbonyls and CVD/ALD (atomic layer deposition and chemical vapor deposition) precursors that are used by manufacturers, researchers and academics in the life sciences and microelectronics sectors. Strem also provides synthesis and manufacturing services for high-potency active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).

Strem was founded in 1964 by Michael Strem and is headquartered north of Boston in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Ephraim Honig, the CEO of Strem, is joining Ascensus as its chief science and innovation officer and will oversee the combined businesses’ research and development activities.

“We thoughtfully chose Ascensus as the partner for the next phase of Strem’s growth,” said Mr. Strem. “Our employees’ interests and well-being have been my top priority, and the strong cultural fit will provide opportunities for our team. The additional resources and global reach of Ascensus will deliver Strem’s strong capabilities to an even broader audience of customers.”

According to Wind Point, Ascensus is the largest global producer of dry and liquid sodium borohydride which is used predominantly as a synthesis and process aid in the production of a variety of APIs including antiretrovirals for the treatment of HIV/AIDS.  Sodium borohydride is also used to bleach wood pulp in the paper industry.

Bellevue, Washington-headquartered Ascensus was founded in 1939 as Metal Hydride, Inc. and was acquired by Thiokol Chemical in 1976. Thiokol merged with Morton International in 1982 to become Morton-Thiokol. In 1999, Rohm & Haas acquired Morton-Thiokol and in 2009 Rohm & Haas in turn was acquired by Dow Chemical.

Wind Point acquired Ascensus in January 2015 from Dow Chemical as an add-on for Vertellus Specialties, a former Wind Point portfolio company (exited in November 2016), and Ascensus, led by CEO Mike Huff, is now a standalone company under Wind Point ownership.

“We are extremely excited to have Strem join the Ascensus family,” said Mr. Huff. “Strem has a world-class team and a renowned reputation that has been methodically fostered for over half a century under the leadership of Michael Strem and Ephraim Honig. We will look to further support the team’s highly technical R&D culture, differentiated product offering and value-added customer relationships. Together, Ascensus and Strem will be a global specialty chemicals leader serving the demanding, high-growth life sciences and specialties markets.”

“Strem represents an excellent addition to the Ascensus platform,” said Alex Washington, a managing director at Wind Point. “The combined business will have capabilities to offer solutions ranging from lab to large scale commercial production. Strem’s industry-leading technical competency is a meaningful addition to Ascensus’ existing capabilities, and Ascensus looks forward to working with Ephraim and the Strem team to amplify new product and application development efforts.”

In September 2019, Ascensus completed another add-on acquisition with the buy of Callery from Edgewater Capital. Callery was formed by Edgewater to acquire the inorganic specialties business of chemical giant BASF in March 2017. Callery is a Pennsylvania-based developer and producer of inorganic chemicals that are used in the pharmaceutical, agricultural, electronics, polymers, and adhesives markets.

Chicago-based Wind Point invests from $50 million to $100 million in companies with EBITDA of at least $10 million. Industries of interest include business services, consumer products and industrial products. Wind Point is currently investing out of Wind Point Partners IX LP which closed in February 2021 with $1.5 billion of capital. Fund IX is the largest fund ever raised by Wind Point.

Grace Matthews was the financial advisor to Strem on this transaction.

© 2021 Private Equity Professional | April 9, 2021

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