By: Frank Esposito
October 4, 2012
COVINGTON, KY. (Oct. 4, 2:10 p.m. ET) — Waddington North America Inc., a maker of plastic cutlery and dinnerware, has gone from one private equity owner to another.
WNA’s new owner is Olympus Partners of Stamford, Conn. Olympus is buying Covington, Ky.-based WNA from Seven Mile Capital Partners LLC of New York for an undisclosed price.
WNA operates six North American plants — in Covington; Chelmsford, Mass.; City of Industry. Calif.; Lancaster, Texas; Chattanooga, Tenn.; and St. Laurent, Quebec. Industry sources said the firm employs between 1,200 and 1,400 and has annual sales of about $300 million.
Premium rigid plastic food service disposables made and designed by WNA include tableware, drinkware, servingware and metalized cutlery products. The firm’s end markets include catering, institutional, retail, restaurant and food processing.
“We are excited to be partnering with Mike Evans, Mike Christopher and the rest of the highly experienced management team at WNA, who have a long track record of innovation and superior operating results,” Olympus executive Manu Bettegowda said in an Oct. 3 news release.
Seven Mile had owned a majority stake in WNA since last year, when it was spun out of financial giant Citigroup. Citigroup — along with Norwest Equity Partners and WNA management — had bought Waddington in 2007.
“Seven Mile has partnered with WNA over the past couple of years and has taken a very active and supportive interest in the business,” WNA chief executive officer Mike Evans said in the release. “We look forward to working with the team at Olympus to continue to grow our business and be the iinovation leader in food service tableware.”
Evans added in an Oct. 4 phone interview that day-to-day operations at WNA won’t be affected by the deal. “It’s a new day and a new balance sheet,” he said.
In an Oct. 4 phone interview, Seven Mile managing partner Vince Fandozzi said that WNA’s focus on premium products, especially those sold into the catering sector, helped the firm do well during the recession. He added that Seven Mile will look to make more plastics acquisitions, since plastics firms often are “good cash-flowing businesses.”
The deal comes only two months after WNA itself acquired the drink cup division of Winpak Portion Packaging Inc. for an undisclosed price. That purchase expanded WNA’s presence in food service drink cups, retail drink cups and individually wrapped and custom-printed cups and lids. Some Winpak production, packaging and printing equipment will be moved this month to WNA’s plant in Quebec.