In 2003, Huron Capital Partners launched a strategic industry initiative focused on the specialty chemical market. Through this effort, Huron partnered with chemical industry veterans Fred Quinn (CEO) and Gerry Loftus (COO) to form Quest Specialty Chemicals to pursue an industry-focused strategy. The Quest team’s long track record in the chemicals industry provided the requisite experience, knowledge and access to deal flow to initiate a market-entry strategy. Quest served as our platform company to acquire businesses producing niche, specialty coatings, films and adhesives. Huron’s favorable prior history with Mr. Quinn, industry knowledge and shared vision were key elements to the successful launch.
With Quest, Huron worked closely with its management partners in developing a long-term strategic plan focusing on creating a diversified coatings company by acquiring leading specialty coatings companies in the Industrial, Transportation & Construction sectors. We targeted companies engaged in the formulation, manufacturing and marketing of coatings designed to repair, restore and preserve the assets of its customers. Fred Quinn and Gerry Loftus needed a partner with patient capital and access to deal flow and other industry contacts, and Huron proved to be that partner.
Over Huron’s investment period, Quest considered over 200 acquisition candidates. Seven of these were acquired and Huron invested equity into Quest five separate times over three years, as Quest was built into a cohesive, unified business with a deep executive team. The company’s revenue and earnings grew, with half of the increase coming from organic revenue growth and other Huron initiatives including improvements in (i) supply chain management and logistics, (ii) product pricing, (iii) materials management, and (iv) manufacturing operations.
Quest grew from being an idea on paper into one of the 25 largest manufacturers of paints and coatings in the U.S. (according to PCI Magazine in 2011). The company was sold in March 2011.
Keys to Success
Huron seeks to help companies reach their full potential by combining its operational approach, capital and transaction experience with proven operating executives who have the vision, experience and commitment to grow their businesses.