Aakash Chemicals

CenterOak Partners LLC has made a majority investment in Aakash Chemicals and Dye-Stuffs Inc., a family-owned manufacturer of colorants and chemical pigments. CenterOak invested in Aakash Chemicals using the firm’s first fund with nearly $420 million in capital, CenterOak Equity Fund I. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Aakash Chemicals was founded in 1978 to serve the North American chemical distribution sector. The target supplies liquid colorants, pigments, resins, additives, dyes and fine chemicals to a variety of industries including: plastics, coatings, agriculture, applications, textile and paper, inks and graphic arts markets. Aakash Shah will retain a significant equity interest in the company as part of the deal, and will also remain in his current role as CEO. Aakash Chemicals is based in Glendale, Illinois.

“CenterOak’s investment facilitates an ownership transition for our family members and provides capital to expand operations and enter new markets,” states Aakash Chemicals CEO Aakash Shah. “We are impressed by CenterOak’s history in growing businesses -- both organically and through add-on acquisitions -- and look forward to leveraging CenterOak’s expertise to expand our product offering and market coverage to better serve our customers.”

CenterOak, based in Dallas, makes control investments of up to $90 million in equity to back middle-market businesses that specialize in industrial growth, consumer and business services sectors. The PE Firm backs U.S. companies that have between $50 million to $250 million in enterprise value. The private equity firm launched in 2014 and acquired Cascade Windows Inc., maker of windows and doors for residential and commercial buildings, from Altamont Capital Partners in early 2016.

Chemical businesses have driven many middle-market acquisitions. Related deals include: Advent International is acquiring chemicals producer Viakem SA de CV; Bayer AG making an unsolicited bid for Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON)Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. merging to form a $130 billion chemical company; FMC Corp.’s (NYSE: FMC) completed purchase of Cheminova; Platform Specialty Productions Corp.’s (NYSE: PAH) purchase of Chemtura Corp.’s agrochemicals business; and Lariat Partners made an investment in crop protection company Willowood USA.

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