Private equity firm Graham Partners clearly sees a future in thermoformed packaging, as it makes its third investment in that area in recent months.
This time, the Newtown Square, Pa.-based company is buying Nuconic Packaging LLC of Vernon, Calif.
The single-site company makes thermoformed PET packaging for the food industry, including containers and lids in a variety of shapes and sizes.
"The company has experienced strong growth driven by a strategic market focus and strong customer relationships," said Adam Piatkowski, managing principal at Graham Partners, in a statement. "We have identified significant synergies due to the expanded geographic coverage and capabilities of the combined platform.
Graham Partners' undisclosed investment follows deals for both Tray-Pak Corp. of Reading, Pa., and EasyPak LLC of Leominster, Mass., within the last year.
Graham Partners called the thermoformed packaging business "an attractive niche that is benefiting from increasing consumer demand for sustainable packaging options and freshly prepared, on-the-go meals."
A key market for EasyPak is the healthy and natural foods categories, Graham Partners said. The company's offerings include packaging made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled resin. Tray-Pak, meanwhile, brings in-house tooling and 3D printing capabilities to product development.
Nuconic was ranked 88th in the most recent Plastics News list of thermoformers in North America. The company reported annual sales of $12 million and has 40 employees.
Nuconic reported operating five thermoforming machines and an annual resin throughput of 5 million pounds, according to the ranking data.
Nuconic has been in business since 2008, and changed its name from Winkler Plastic LLC in 2014. Brothers Chris Winkler and Colin Winker founded the company, which later attracted Carlin Capital Partners as an investor in late 2010.
Nuconic, the company says on its website, "is an amalgamation of several words core to the company's mission; new (Nu), containers (con) and plastic (ic)."
Nuconic CEO Alan Franz said the backing of Graham Partners will allow further growth in an expanding market.