Wind Point Buys California Natural Products
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Wind Point Buys California Natural Products

Wind Point Partners’ portfolio company Gehl Foods has completed the add-on acquisition of California Natural Products.

California Natural Products (CNP) is an aseptic packager of dairy-based and dairy alternative beverages, soups, broths, teas, nutritional drinks, and wine and spirits, all in Tetra Pak cartons. Aseptic processing is the process by which a sterile (aseptic) product is packaged in a sterile container. In addition, CNP provides specialty ingredient development and manufacturing of rice-based syrups and sweeteners, soy milk and non-dairy protein.

CNP was founded in 1980 by owner Pat Mitchell and operates out of three facilities located near Oakland in Lathrop, CA (www.cnp.com).

In March 2015, Wind Point Partners acquired Gehl Foods from the Gehl family which founded the company in 1896. Gehl Foods is a maker and contract manufacturer of ready-to-serve, real dairy products including cheese sauces, puddings, yogurt, and dairy-based beverages. The company uses an advanced aseptic process to eliminate microorganisms that cause dairy foods to spoil and at the same time locks in freshness and taste. Gehl’s products are sold in restaurants and retail stores under the Gehl brands and other brands under the company’s contract manufacturing operations.

Gehl Foods was founded in 1896 by J.P. Gehl and is headquartered northwest of Milwaukee in Germantown, WI.  The company, led by CEO Eric Beringause, employs over 330 people at its three Germantown facilities and nearby West Bend bottle-making operation (www.gehlfoods.com).

According to Wind Point, the combination of Gehl and CNP creates a leading provider of low-acid aseptic food and beverage products. With its manufacturing facility in Germantown, WI, Gehl’s aseptic packaging capabilities include bag-in-box, pouch, #10 can, HDPE and PET single-serve bottles.  Through its West Coast operation, CNP offers filling capabilities across eight carton sizes, in addition to ingredient development and manufacturing.  CNP also adds a group of long-term customer relationships to Gehl and provides access to several growing end markets.

“CNP represents an ideal fit with Gehl and an excellent next step toward building out our platform in the growing segments of shelf-stable food and beverage,” said David Stott, a Managing Director with Wind Point Partners. “Our customers are looking for exceptional service across a breadth of packaging formats, coupled with product formulation and supply chain expertise.  Together these businesses are poised to deliver on that proposition.”

Wind Point invests from $30 million to $150 million in companies with revenues from $100 million to $500 million and EBITDAs of at least $10 million. Industries of interest include business services, consumer products and industrial products. Wind Point was founded in 1984 and is based in Chicago. In June 2017, Wind Point held a final closing of its eighth fund, Wind Point Partners VIII, with $985 million of capital commitments. The fund exceeded its initial hard cap of $750 million and marks the largest fund closing in Wind Point’s history (www.wppartners.com).

Cascadia Capital (www.cascadiacapital.com) was CNP’s financial advisor on this transaction.

© 2018 Private Equity Professional | January 30, 2018

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