St. Louis, Missouri
Leading distributor of rigid packaging solutions
Investment Date: October 1999
Exit Date: July 2004
In 1999, TricorBraun Holdings, Inc. had sales of $310 million and market share of 2.5 times its nearest competitor. In the three years prior to CHS’ investment, TricorBraun had successfully acquired and integrated three companies, demonstrating its potential to lead a consolidation of the highly fragmented, rigid packaging distribution industry.

At TricorBraun, we saw an opportunity to back a proven management team at the intersection of two industries we knew well: distribution and packaging. We forecasted that TricorBraun would generate consistent, organic growth in a low growth but stable industry, and continue its consolidation of the fragmented rigid packaging distribution industry.

Simultaneous with closing, TricorBraun acquired Packaging Plus, the first of three add-on acquisitions under CHS’ ownership. The Packaging Plus acquisition was completely integrated into TricorBraun within 90 days of closing. TricorBraun ultimately achieved EBITDA from the acquired business that exceeded CHS’ and the company’s expectations.

During the difficult economic environment from 2000-2003, TricorBraun achieved positive growth in sales and profitability each year. Despite the company’s impressive organic growth, tight credit markets limited the company’s ability to finance acquisitions. During this period, CHS worked closely with the company to implement a number of planned management changes. In addition, TricorBraun generated high free cash flow during this period and substantially reduced debt.

In December 2003, the company completed the acquisition of Packaging West, a rigid packaging distributor based on the western United States. This acquisition was sourced by CHS on a proprietary basis through our contacts in the packaging industry. The integration of Packaging West produced substantial cost savings as TricorBraun immediately consolidated three of Packaging West’s five locations into existing TricorBraun facilities and eliminated nearly its entire corporate staff. Shortly after the Packaging West acquisition, TricorBraun completed the acquisition of another CHS sourced add-on, Smith Container. Again, TricorBraun financed the Smith Container acquisition entirely with senior bank debt, consolidated most of its warehouse facilities, and eliminated nearly all corporate expenses.

Anticipating strength in the mergers and acquisitions market, CHS and the management team agreed in early 2004 to market TricorBraun for sale. CHS conducted a broad auction and by July, 2004 sold TricorBraun to a financial sponsor.

Case Studies have been selected for illustrative purposes. The specific portfolio companies identified are not representative of all active or prior CHS Capital portfolio companies; results may not be typical and it should not be assumed that investments in other portfolio companies will be or were as profitable. For complete listings of active and prior portfolio companies please visit the "Portfolio" section of the website. Investments in a fund involves significant risk, including loss of the entire investment.