Major plastics pellets distributor and grinder Brunk Holdings LLC has a new owner.
Capital for Business Inc. of St Louis bought a majority interest in Brunk on Aug. 13 for undisclosed terms because of its growth potential, according to a woman who helped seal the deal, Hollis Huels.
“It's a niche business,” Huels said in a telephone interview from St. Louis, where she has started up a new private equity firm, Corporate Capital Partners LLC. Huels until recently was a managing partner with Capital for Business and she is now a member of Brunk's board of directors.
Brunk runs three logistical centers that break railcar loads of plastic pellets into truckloads or gaylords for shipment to customers. Its logistics sites are in Goshen, Ind., where Brunk is based, in Bloomington, Minn., and in Constantine, Mich. The Goshen and Bloomington facilities also grind plastics, mainly polyethylene, into powders suitable for processing by rotational molders.
Huels said Brunk can handle 80 railcars of pellets at a time and the facilities also have roofed-over warehouse space.
Brunk started out as a trucking company in 1957 and branched into purveying calcium chloride for roadways de-icing in winter. Those businesses were spun off in 1999 as a separate company, AJP Corp. Brunk began pulverizing operations in 1994.
Huels said Capital for Business had experience in the plastics industry through its history of ownership of several companies in the sector and it was impressed with Brunk.
Capital for Business's current investment portfolio includes Polymer Technology, a Menomonie, Wis., custom molder equipped with robots and clean rooms for customers in medical, defense and commercial markets.
Huels said Brunk is atypical of the pellet distribution and grinding businesses. It is independent, rather than associated with a major resin producer. It employs about 100.
“We see this as an opportunity to go nationwide, beyond the mid-West,” said Tracy Bartow, grandson of Brunk's founder and who will remain as its president and CEO.
“It also allows us to have more resources to expand our service capabilities,” he said in a phone interview.
Other firms with minority stakes in Brunk are Corporate Capital Partners and Aldine Capital of Chicago.