SK Merges Canlak and Valentus to Create Wood Finishings Giant

SK Capital Partners has formed Canlak Coatings to acquire Canadian coatings company Canlak and US-based Valentus Specialty Chemicals.

Valentus is a maker of specialty coatings used in residential and commercial flooring, industrial protective maintenance and wood floor applications. Company-owned brand names include ABSCO, PoloPlaz, Sampson, Last n Last, Polycare and Wilson Imperial. Valentus is headquartered in North Brunswick, New Jersey.

Huron formed Valentus in May 2014 in partnership with Ray Chlodney, John Ragazzini and Bob Taylor to pursue a buy-and-build strategy in the industrial coatings sector. During its ownership term the firm closed five add-on acquisitions with the buys of New Jersey-based National Paint Industries (December 2015); Tennessee-based Precision Technologies (April 2016); New York-based Absolute Coatings (August 2016); Arkansas-based PoloPlaz Coatings (September 2017); and Missouri-based US Coatings (January 2018).

Canlak is a manufacturer of industrial wood coatings with seven facilities across Canada, the United States and China. Canlak, led by CEO Normand Guindon, was founded in 1981 and is headquartered northeast of Montreal in Daveluyville, Québec.

“The combination of Canlak and Valentus will offer a comprehensive portfolio of wood coatings products to serve the sports, commercial and residential flooring, cabinet and furniture manufacturing sectors,” said Mario Toukan, a managing director of SK Capital. “We see tremendous opportunity to build upon a solid portfolio of brands, including Canlak, PoloPlaz, ABSCO and Sampson Coatings, to provide value and solutions to the company’s North American customer base.”

Post-closing, the newly merged company will be headquartered in North Brunswick, New Jersey, and will be led by its newly appointed CEO Robert Jamieson, a veteran executive in the chemicals industry with past senior management positions at Kansas City-based VersaFlex, a maker of protective coatings (polyurea, epoxy and polyurethane), linings, joint fillers and repair materials. PPG acquired VersaFlex in February 2021 from DalFort Capital Partners. Mr. Jamieson has also held senior roles at Texas-based Quadrant Chemical and Pennsylvania-based Carlisle Construction Materials.

“Robert’s extensive background managing chemicals businesses makes him an ideal candidate for integrating and growing Canlak Coatings,” added Mr. Toukan.

“Canlak Coatings will focus on offering the highest quality coatings that meet the market’s ever-more stringent VOC requirements,” said Randy Dearth, a senior director of SK Capital. “Our portfolio will include a broad range of technologies, including traditional lacquers and varnishes, waterborne coatings, UV-cured coating systems and high-performance polyurethanes.”

SK Capital invests in the specialty materials, chemicals and pharmaceutical sectors and typically invests equity of $100 million to $200 million in each portfolio company. In February 2019, the firm held a final closing of SK Capital Partners Fund V LP with total capital of $2.1 billion. In October 2020, SK formed NuCera Solutions to acquire the Oklahoma-based specialty polymers business of Baker Hughes. NuCera produces specialty olefin polymers and polyethylene waxes that are used in adhesives, candles, coatings, imaging, personal care, and plastics applications.

SK Capital was co-founded by Barry Siadat and Jamshid Keynejad and is based in New York City.

Private Equity Professional | May 28, 2021

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