Located in Itasca, Illinois, Nicoat is a manufacturer of water-based and UV-curable coatings for high-performance graphic art, packaging, and specialty coating applications. Nicoat provides highly-customized product solutions to fulfill each customer’s specific printing requirements for durability, appearance, and functionality. This customer-centric approach has allowed the company to develop long-lasting relationships with many of the largest companies in the commercial printing industry.
Nicoat was acquired by Prairie Capital in 2005. Prairie engaged Grace Matthews to approach several of the “best-fit” buyers prior to running a full divestiture process. This type of process allowed Nicoat and Prairie to maintain confidentiality while minimizing disruption to the business.
Grace Matthews successfully navigated through a number of issues that were critical to potential buyers, including a recent CEO transition, a volatile raw material cost environment, and complexities associated with a Mexico-based subsidiary that represented 25% of the business.
After discussions with both strategic buyers and private equity firms, the shareholders elected to partner with Los Angeles-based Caltius Equity Partners, with debt financing provided by Babson Capital and U.S. Bank. Caltius provided extensive experience in the overprint coatings industry through their previous investment in Northwest Coatings (sold to Ashland in 2007). The former CEO of Northwest Coatings, now a partner with Caltius, was named Chairman of the Board of Nicoat after the transaction with Caltius.
The transaction offered continuity for the existing management team and allowed them to partner with an experienced firm committed to executing the Company’s growth strategy. The transaction also provided liquidity to Prairie Capital and its limited partners in a timely, efficient manner.
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Grace Matthews advised Nicoat and Prairie Capital