In 2003, Huron Capital partnered with chemical industry veterans Fred Quinn (CEO) and Gerry Loftus (COO) to form Quest Specialty Chemicals, an ExecFactor® initiative focused on the specialty chemical market. 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 a platform company to acquire businesses producing niche, specialty coatings, films and adhesives. Huron Capital’s favorable prior history with Fred, industry knowledge and shared vision were key elements to the launch.
Why Huron Capital?
With Quest, Huron Capital worked closely with its management partners in developing a long-term strategic plan focused on creating a diversified coatings company by acquiring leading specialty coatings companies in the Industrial, Transportation & Construction sectors. Quest targeted companies engaged in the formulation, manufacturing and marketing of coatings designed to repair, restore and preserve the assets of their customers. Fred and Gerry needed a partner with patient capital and access to deal flow and other industry contacts, and Huron Capital met those needs.
Over Huron Capital’s investment period, Quest considered over 200 acquisition candidates; seven of these were acquired. Consequently, Huron Capital 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:
- Supply chain management and logistics
- Product pricing
- Materials management
- 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). After almost 7 years of partnering with Huron Capital, Quest’s management team selected a successor private equity firm to continue pursuing the growth of the business.