Syrgis Performance Specialties, also known as Lycus, is a manufacturer of reactive powder, ultra-violet (“UV”) light absorbers used as additives in the manufacture of plastics, coatings, adhesives, and personal care products. The company’s customers are manufacturers that use Lycus’s products in their own chemical formulations to protect end products from degradation due to exposure to sunlight or other sources of UV light. Lycus operates in a niche segment of the UV absorber industry: it is one of the few companies in the world, and the only one in the United States, to make UV absorbers based on substituted benzophenones and diphenyl acrylates. Products based on these chemistries are highly engineered chemicals that represent the high-end of the UV absorber market, and they cannot be duplicated by competitors without significant research and development.
Lycus was a subsidiary of Syrgis Holdings, Inc., a portfolio of three specialty chemicals manufacturing companies. Edgewater Capital, the owner of Syrgis Holdings, engaged Grace Matthews to manage a sale of Syrgis Holdings’ portfolio companies to either private equity funds or strategic buyers. Though Lycus was the smallest of the three subsidiaries, it was viewed as a valuable asset because it operated in a protected niche and generated significant cash flow.
Grace Matthews, having already sold the two other Syrgis subsidiaries to strategic buyersfor an aggregate value in excess of $100 million, recognized that the sale process for Lycus would be different because of its size and niche market focus. Lycus’s own management team expressed an interest in buying the business, and worked with Grace Matthewsand Edgewater to develop an appropriate transaction structure. Both parties were able to come to a mutual agreement relatively quickly, and now Lycus now operates as a fully independent manufacturer.