Kelso Forms Armada Materials

Kelso Forms Armada Materials

New platform is led by aggregates veteran Rob Duke and has closed on its first buy with purchase of Volunteer Materials

Volunteer is a vertically integrated producer of aggregates, asphalt, and ready-mix concrete and is a provider of road paving and striping services in the greater Nashville area.

SOURCE: Getty Images

Kelso & Company has formed Armada Materials in partnership with industry veteran Rob Duke and other industry executives.

In tandem with the formation of Tampa, Florida-based Armada, the company has acquired Lewisburg, Tennessee-headquartered Volunteer Materials and its sister companies Volunteer Paving, Volunteer Sand and Gravel, Volunteer Concrete, Action Enterprise Company, and TMC Construction Services.

Volunteer is a vertically integrated producer of aggregates, asphalt, and ready-mix concrete and is a provider of road paving and striping services in the greater Nashville area. The company owns extensive limestone reserves including one of the few privately-owned quarries in Tennessee and has proximity to the fast growing I-65 corridor south of Nashville where several major companies have announced expansion plans and new job creation.

Source: Getty Images

Mr. Duke will serve as the CEO of Armada Materials. He has more than 20 years of experience in the construction materials sector. Most recently, he was a senior executive at publicly traded and Dublin-headquartered CRH (Cement Roadstone Holdings) where he led the company’s cement, concrete, aggregate, and precast businesses in Western Europe. Earlier he was the president of CRH’s south division that provides cement, aggregate, asphalt, concrete, paving, highway construction, and bulk rail distribution services. CRH’s south division has more than $3 billion in revenue and more than 6,000 employees. Mr. Duke has also held senior positions at Florida-based Preferred Materials and CEMEX.

“I am thrilled to partner with Kelso and our other investors in launching Armada Materials,” said Mr. Duke. “We have assembled a premier group of leaders and advisors with deep industry experience and a shared vision as the acquirer of choice for private owners considering a sale of their business. We are very excited to team up with Volunteer and its management team under the leadership of Chad Swallows. Volunteer is an ideal, first platform for Armada with key locations in Tennessee positioned for further growth.”

Source: Getty Images

Joining Mr. Duke at Armada is Travis Raitt, who leads the company’s acquisition efforts as EVP of Business Development. Mr. Raitt has past work experience at CRH, The Home Depot, and Macquarie Capital.

“We are excited about our partnership with Rob, Travis, and the broader Armada and Volunteer teams,” said Sandy Osborne, a managing director at Kelso. “We believe Armada provides a differentiated partnership solution for owners of infrastructure materials and services businesses.”

New York City-based Kelso & Company is one of the oldest and most established firms specializing in middle-market private equity investing. Since 1980, Kelso has invested over $19 billion of equity capital in more than 140 transactions.

Earlier this month, Kelso & Company held an above target close of Kelso Investment Associates XI LP with capital commitments of $3.25 billion. Included in Fund XI’s capital is participation by Kelso partners and employees of more than $400 million.

“We are eager to support Armada’s growth, both organically and through acquiring top-tier companies like Volunteer,” added Matt Edgerton, managing director of Kelso.

With the formation of Armada, Kelso’s newest fund is now invested in five platforms. The four earlier investments include Valenz, an Arizona-based provider of healthcare related payment and cost containment services to small and mid-sized companies (June 2023); Pathstone, an independent wealth management firm tailored to ultra-high net worth clients (May 2023); WilliamsMarston, a Massachusetts-based provider of non-audit accounting advisory, tax, valuation, and other managed services (August 2022); and Inovar Packaging Group, a Texas-based provider of pressure sensitive labels and shrink sleeves (May 2022).

© 2023 Private Equity Professional | October 11, 2023

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