Norwest Exits Gopher

Norwest Exits Gopher

Norwest Equity Partners has sold Gopher Resource to Energy Capital Partners. Norwest acquired its equity interest in Gopher Resource in February 2010.

Gopher Resource is a recycler of spent automotive, industrial, and stationary batteries. The company’s end of process products include one-ton lead blocks, 70-pound lead bars, large and small lead billets alloyed to customers’ specifications, and recycled polypropylene and other plastic resins. Gopher Resource, led by CEO Jeff Jacobsen, was founded in 1946 and employs approximately 600 people at recycling facilities near Minneapolis in Eagan, MN (headquarters) and Tampa, FL (

“Gopher’s partnership with NEP provided us with the strategic insight, robust resources, and long-term vision to help us become an even stronger company – they helped position us for the next chapter of our growth,” said Mr. Jacobsen.

Norwest Equity Partners (NEP) was first introduced to Gopher in 2009 by Ben Oehler, a Minneapolis-based family business advisor, as the company was exploring financing options to build a new facility in Tampa. In 2010 NEP made a minority investment in the company in partnership with the founding Kutoff and Silverberg families.

“Steady and strong performance at the company’s Eagan plant paired with the successful construction and ramp-up of a new state-of-the-art facility in Tampa has helped cement Gopher’s leadership position in its industry, making it an attractive acquisition candidate,” said Tim DeVries, NEP Managing General Partner. “Over the last eight years, our team has worked closely with the Gopher leadership team to significantly impact the performance of the company, including more than doubling both revenue and profitability as well as increasing the number of jobs by 90 percent. Together, we accomplished a lot – I couldn’t be more proud of the Gopher leadership team and our involvement with the company.”

Norwest Equity Partners makes equity investments of $30 million to $250 million in companies that have more than $10 million in EBITDA. Sectors of interest include agriculture, business services, consumer, distribution, diversified industrials, energy, and healthcare. In April 2015, NEP closed Norwest Equity Partners X LP, a $1.6 billion fund and Norwest Mezzanine Partners IV LP, an $800 million fund formed by NEP’s affiliated mezzanine investment firm, Norwest Mezzanine Partners. Norwest Equity Partners is headquartered in Minneapolis (

“NEP’s investment enabled the development, construction, and ramp-up of an industry-leading recycling facility in Tampa, increasing capacity of the plant by more than 5 times, and introducing hundreds of new jobs to the local community,” said John Hogan, a partner at Norwest Mezzanine Partners. “In addition, NEP partnered with the founding families to build out a world-class management team, strengthen Gopher’s environmental leadership, and develop truly differentiated R&D capabilities that will benefit Gopher, its customers, and its employees for decades to come. We are excited to watch Gopher’s continued success with its new investment partner.”

Energy Capital Partners invests in the power generation, midstream oil and gas, electric transmission, energy equipment & services, and environmental infrastructure sectors. The firm was founded in 2005 and has offices in Short Hills, NJ, Houston, TX, and San Diego, CA (

J.P. Morgan was the financial advisor to Gopher Resource.

© 2018 Private Equity Professional | March 8, 2018

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