GTCR has made its first acquisition through its new Ceba-Tech Specialty Solutions portfolio company: a majority investment in Flavor Producers Inc., provider of flavors and extracts.
Chicago-based GTCR formed Ceba-Tech in January as a partnership with Charles Nicolais, the former CEO of a specialty ingredients provider for the food and beverage industries. Flavor Producers, also known as FPI, serves more than 500 customers globally in foods, beverages and nutraceuticals—dietary supplements such as vitamins and minerals.
“FPI has an excellent customer-centric approach to developing unique flavors, and we believe they bring proprietary capabilities and extraordinary responsiveness,” says Sean Cunningham, GTCR managing director. “We look forward to investing additional capital to support both organic initiatives and strategic follow-on acquisitions.”
Terms of the FPI deal were not disclosed. Cunningham describes the deal as a partnership with FPI’s existing owners, the Harris family, led by CEO Jeff Harris. FPI describes the deal as a recapitalization through a majority investment from Ceba-Tech. FPI, based in Valencia, California, remains a stand-alone business, retaining its name, employees, facilities and other assets. The company, founded in 1981, focuses on organic and natural products, with three facilities and research and development groups in Valencia, Cincinnati and Linden, New Jersey, as well as “an extensive library of proprietary flavors,” according to GTCR.
The goal of St. Louis-based Ceba-Tech is to “build a market-leading platform in the specialty chemicals, materials and ingredients industry,” according to GTCR. Nicolais, GTCR’s partner in Ceba-Tech, had founded and built his previous company, SensoryEffects, through acquisitions and organically before selling it.
GTCR made the investment in FPI from its $5.25 billion GTCR Fund XII, which closed its fundraising in October. GTCR’s legal adviser on the deal was Kirkland & Ellis LLP, with PricewaterhouseCoopers serving as its accounting adviser. Since its founding in 1980, GTCR has invested more than $15 billion in more than 200 companies, focusing on technology, media and telecommunications, healthcare, financial services and technology, and “growth business services”—described by the PE firm as companies that provide essential services to growing businesses.