Comar LLC has experienced rapid growth in recent years and expects more of the same under a new owner.
Majority ownership at the Voorhees, N.J.-based plastics packaging company is changing from Graham Partners Inc. to Morgan Stanley Capital Partners. Members of management, including CEO Michael Ruggieri and other individual investors, will have a stake in the firm.
"Private equity is in the business of monetizing their investments. Rightly, that's what they do. It was at a time where it made sense for Graham Partners [to sell]," Ruggieri said.
"We had gotten to a stage in our growth where a larger scale fund was going to be important to take us through the next chapter. So all those things lined up together. It was good for everybody," Ruggieri said in June 21 interview.
Graham Partners became an investor in Comar in October 2013 when the family business sought outside financial help to expand.
The company has grown from two manufacturing locations to eight in the United States and Puerto Rico. Top line sales have tripled since then.
"We want to continue to expand our geographic reach and organizational capabilities," Ruggieri said. "We will remain very active on the M&A front, looking for businesses in North America and other regions, primarily Europe. So that is something we will be exploring in a big way."
Eric Kanter is managing director at MSCP and sees future growth for Comar.
"We look forward to supporting the talented management team during the coming years of organic and acquisition-fueled growth as the company executes its strategy to develop increasing exposure to medical/drug delivery products," Kanter said in a statement.
MSCP is a unit of Morgan Stanley Investment Management, a middle-market private equity firm. Key markets for Comar's plastics packaging include medical, pharmaceutical, health care, personal and home care, food and beverage and niche applications. Products include bottles, dosage cups and spoons, dropper assemblies, oral syringes, closures, tips and adapters and total dispensing systems. These dispensing systems, for example, can include bottles, fitments and caps.
About 80 percent of the company's sales is in health care-related markets, the CEO said.
Comar ranked No. 23 in the most recent Plastics News survey of North American blow molders, with sales of $115 million.
Graham Partners is an investment firm based in suburban Philadelphia that was founded by plastics industry legend Donald Graham. The firm currently has a wide variety of investments outside of plastics, but recently made investments in two thermoformed packaging companies: EasyPak LLC and Tray-Pak Corp.
"It's been a great run with Graham. We're pretty satisfied with what we've accomplished," Ruggieri said.
"Comar is an exceptional company that has become not only bigger, but also a stronger, more diversified business under our ownership," said Adam Piatkowski, managing principal at Graham Partners, in a statement. "We are confident they will continue to innovate and drive growth and profitability under new ownership."