AUA Private Equity Partners, continuing its focus in the food sector, has acquired the assets of TruFood Mfg., a snack food contract manufacturer.
TruFood is a contract manufacturer of branded and private-label nutrition bars, protein bars, chocolate moulded products, and baked goods that are sold at club, grocery, drug, convenience, and department stores worldwide. Customers of the company include consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies and retailers.
TruFood was founded in 1985 as the Penhurst Candy Company by Spiro and Marge Tsudis and is today led by CEO Pete Tsudis (the founders’ son). TruFood has a total of 350,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing facilities and is headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA (www.trufoodmfg.com).
Pete Tsudis will continue as CEO of the company under AUA ownership. To strengthen the management team, AUA has added two industry veterans with the hirings of Ted Schouten, who will serve as President, and Brad Balkovec, who will serve as Chief Financial Officer. In addition, the company has added Martin Frech, a former senior executive with Mondelez and Hershey’s, to the TruFood board of directors.
“We welcome TruFood as the newest company in our portfolio,” said David Benyaminy, a partner of AUA Private Equity. “TruFood will be a leading manufacturer in the growing snacking and nutrition bar segments and this acquisition is a complement to our growing portfolio of food manufacturers. We see great growth opportunities in this industry and our strategic acquisition of TruFood will not only enhance the AUA portfolio but support TruFood’s long-term success.”
“AUA Private Equity’s commitment to TruFood is a testament to the company’s potential and the strong foundation that Pete built,” said Mr. Schouten. “TruFood is now positioned to enter the second half of 2019 in a stronger financial position and poised for growth. We are excited to work with the company’s valued partners—its customers and suppliers—supported by TruFood’s top-notch team of employees.”
“TruFood is a highly-respected company and industry leader with world-class manufacturing facilities and a customer base consisting of leading CPG companies,” said Kyce Chihi, a managing director at AUA Private Equity. “We look forward to driving growth through R&D and new product development, expanding customer relationships and implementing productivity improvements.”
AUA Private Equity makes equity investments from $20 million to $45 million in companies with at least $5 million of EBITDA and enterprise values of $25 million to $200 million or more. Sectors of interest include consumer products and services with a focus on family-owned businesses and companies benefiting from the growth of the US Hispanic population. The AUA Private Equity deal team was led by Partner David Benyaminy, Managing Director Kyce Chihi and Vice President Jack Lin.
AUA has been a very active investor in the food sector with numerous food companies in its current portfolio. In May 2019 it formed Gourmet Culinary Holdings (GCH) as a new platform to acquire US-based premium specialty food manufacturers serving the foodservice and retail sectors.
AUA is headquartered in New York (www.auaequity.com).
© 2019 Private Equity Professional | June 19, 2019