Equity firm Stonebridge Partners has taken an ownership stake in bottle producer Alpha Packaging Inc. and provided capital to help the company continue to grow.
Stonebridge, based in White Plains, N.Y., will provide operational insight and financial backing, said Dave Spence, Alpha president and chief executive officer, in a Feb. 1 telephone interview.
Spence did not disclose Stonebridge's ownership percentage. Spence, who bought the company in 1985, said he retains a stake in Alpha. The transaction value was more than $50 million, according to Stonebridge.
St. Louis-based Alpha brought in Stonebridge to keep the company on its growth pace, Spence said. Alpha realized that, about two years from now, it might not have the financial resources to continue its organic growth or look at key acquisitions without incurring high-risk debt, he added.
``It wasn't anything we had to do under duress,'' Spence said. ``But I could see us on a collision course two years down the line, and I didn't want to put the company at risk. This provides a significant amount of equity for the company to continue growing.''
Stonebridge owns Hot Springs, Ark.-based Delta Plastics Inc., a maker of injection molded jars and caps. That 2003 deal and Stonebridge's knowledge of the packaging market helped fuel the Alpha deal, Spence said. The equity firm has combined sales of $1.8 billion from its portfolio companies.
Alpha, a blow molder of bottles for personal-care products, pharmaceuticals and nutritional supplements, has grown in sales from $18 million in 2000 to $44 million last year, Spence said. The company purchased Gutmann Plastics Inc. of New York in 2001 and opened a plant in Salt Lake City in August 2004.
Spence, who was 26 when he bought the company - then called Alpha Con Plastics - said the partnership with Stonebridge will keep the company on that aggressive path.