Riverside Acquisition Spices Up GreenLine Foods April 16, 2008
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Fresh Herb Company is Firm’s 11th LBO of 2008
(April 16, 2008) – The Riverside Company has a well-seasoned recipe for success: Buy companies at the small end of the middle market and build them through organic growth and add-on acquisitions. The firm has cooked up another winner with the addition of HerbThyme Farms to platform company GreenLine Foods. HerbThyme, the leading grower, processor and distributor of fresh herbs in the U.S., adds a new product category to GreenLine, the leading provider of fresh-trimmed, microwaveable packaged green beans and other value-added produce items. This transaction is Riverside’s 11th acquisition of 2008 and the second add-on to GreenLine in five months; in November 2007, Riverside acquired Green Glen Produce, a supplier of fresh-trimmed packaged green beans.
A cornucopia of success, HerbThyme was created in 2001 through the merger of two fresh herb producers, and has continued to grow through the acquisition of four other companies. The company offers 16 types of herbs and herb blends to retail and foodservice customers. The company’s four California herb farms produce virtually all HerbThyme offerings. Just over 30% of the company’s 300 acres are certified organic, making HerbThyme the largest organic herb grower in the United States. In addition to the four farms, the company operates packing and distribution facilities in Compton, California; Claremont, New Hampshire; Orlando, Florida; and Montreal, Quebec.
“The strategic fit of HerbThyme into GreenLine has all the ingredients of another Riverside success,” said Tim Gosline, Riverside Partner. “It broadens GreenLine’s offering of fresh value-added produce, leverages customer relationships and distribution networks, and enables GreenLine to strengthen its processing and distribution capabilities on the west coast. Part of our strategy for GreenLine was to expand its product depth and breadth, and we look forward to the successful integration of these two companies.”
“We are happy to have HerbThyme join GreenLine and see the addition as a great way to sprinkle in a new offering to our product mix,” said Jeff Twyman, GreenLine’s Chief Executive Officer. “Like GreenLine, HerbThyme has successfully recognized and capitalized on demand for fresh food. In addition to adding herbs to our product line, we see opportunity for new products that will bring together herbs and fresh vegetables in convenient high-quality products.”
Working with Gosline on the transaction were Riverside team members Matt Dailey, Principal; Adam Friend, Senior Associate; and Ashok Reddy, Associate. Senior debt financing was provided by Key Bank and Sub debt financing was provided by New Canaan Funding.
The Riverside Company
The Riverside Company is the largest global private equity firm focused on the smaller end of the middle market (“SEMM”) and is one of the industry’s most experienced leveraged buyout investors. Riverside specializes in investing in premier SEMM companies (those with enterprise values of up to $150 million) and partners with strong management teams to build companies through acquisitions and value-added growth. Since 1988, the firm has invested in 187 transactions with a total enterprise value of $3.4 billion. Its current portfolio in the U.S., Europe and Asia numbers 62, with combined annual sales of $3 billion, EBITDA of $428 million and more than 11,000 employees. Riverside offers the resources to complete acquisitions smoothly and in as little as 30 days – thanks to its sizeable pool of capital under management (nearly $2 billion in nine funds), over 150 professionals in 17 offices (Amsterdam, Atlanta, Budapest, Brussels, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Los Angeles, Madrid, Munich, New York, Prague, San Francisco, Seoul, Stockholm, Tokyo and Warsaw), and long-standing relationships with partner lenders. Five of seven of the firm’s mature vintages are currently top quartile, and the firm’s investors include the world’s leading pension funds, endowments, funds-of-funds, insurance companies and banks. Please visit www.riversidecompany.com and www.riversideeurope.com for more information.
GreenLine Foods, Inc.
GreenLine Foods processes and distributes fresh trimmed green beans to wholesalers and distributors across the country. The company is the largest provider of fresh-trimmed, microwaveable packaged green beans in North America and manages the process from planting hybrid seeds through on-time delivery to customers. From its original product focus on fresh-trimmed microwaveable green beans, the company has added complementary value-added produce items, including wax beans, bean blends, sugar snap peas, French green beans, hydorponic lettuce and asparagus and potatoes. GreenLine produces 63,000 cases of produce a week. GreenLine’s patented FreshStart Process retains product quality, extends shelf life and reduces product spoilage. When GreenLine beans reach customers’ kitchens, they're trimmed and ready to cook, ensuring quick preparation, consistent quality and easy storage that outlasts traditional bulk product. The company is headquartered in Bowling Green, Ohio, and operates manufacturing and/or distribution centers in Bowling Green; Vero Beach, Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Chester, New York; Rock Hill, South Carolina; and Hanover, Pennsylvania. For more information, please visit www.greenlinebeans.com.
HerbThyme Farms is headquartered in Compton, California. It is the largest year-round grower, shipper and marketer of conventional and certified organic fresh culinary herbs in the United States. HerbThyme has over 500 acres of conventional farmland and 100 acres dedicated to the growing of USDA certified organic herbs. HerbThyme grows and ships over 5 million pounds of fresh herbs annually. Fresh herbs are grown domestically on its farms in California as well as sourced internationally from certified growers. For more information, please visit www.herbthyme.com.