Wynston Hill Capital Reflects on a Successful 2010
NEW YORK, NY, Jan. 24, 2011 – Wynston Hill Capital (WHC) is pleased to report a year of eventful and exciting achievements in 2010. The boutique firm has established a unique niche as a middle market merchant bank; acting as an adviser, a principal investor, and a classic investment banker.
Wynston Hill combines financial expertise, flexibility and creative thinking to create enhanced shareholder value for middle market companies. Wynston Hill’s portfolio companies benefit from a close working relationship, and a full spectrum of investment banking services and our strategic ability to structure innovative deals from a debt and equity perspective.
“While we work across many different industries and with companies at various stages of the corporate lifecycle, our portfolio companies share one common thread – they all have strong potential to innovate and meet customer needs of today and the future,” said Corey Singman, WHC Co-Head of Investment Banking. “Working across sectors, we add strategic insight by utilizing lessons learned from other industries.”
2010: A Year of Growth
“We are very encouraged by the activity we saw last year and by the impressive accomplishments of our portfolio companies who are reinventing brands and delivering innovative solutions to their customers,” said Bruce Shalett, WHC Co-Head of Investment Banking. “Wynston Hill has close partnerships with these companies and plays an active role in providing the right resources and supporting growth strategies.”
“In 2010 we focused on growing and expanding established businesses,” said Mr. Singman. “This is a major shift from the last two years as owners of these companies were previously focused on survival and cost reduction.” From marketers of consumer goods, to the leading manufacturer of electric trucks, Wynston Hill portfolio companies made great progress toward their growth objectives in 2010 The following are a few highlights from the past year.
SMITH ELECTRIC VEHICLES
As investment banker to, and member of the founding shareholder group of Smith Electric Vehicles U.S., Wynston Hill led the company’s launch and financial structuring in 2009. WHC
has led all of the capital raising efforts to date and works closely with Smith Electric management to expand their business.
Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. recently finalized the purchase of its parent company, Smith Electric Vehicles (U.K.), creating the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial electric vehicles with increased operational efficiencies and market synergies. “Smith Electric Vehicles is transforming the commercial trucking business through its commitment to innovation and delivering on customer needs,” said Mr. Singman. “Many leading companies are making the move to electric trucks and we expect to see more as the return on investment is recognized and the government continues its focus on clean air initiatives and reducing diesel fuel emissions.”
Smith Electric 2010 Highlights:
- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) selected Smith Electric Vehicles to receive $32 million in grant funding toward the production of its trucks.
- President Obama visited Smith’s headquarters to reinforce the administration’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay ordered 176 electric trucks in what will be the largest fleet of commercial all-electric trucks in North America. Staples also announced in 2010 an order of 120 trucks adding to Smith’s world-class clients including Coca-Cola, PG&E and AT&T.
- The United States Marine Corps purchased two Smith Newton trucks following a September report by the Center for a New American Security recommending that America’s armed forces set a goal of operating all of its systems on non-petroleum fuels by 2040. Smith Electric’s Newton is the only medium duty all-electric commercial truck on the Government Services Administration (GSA) schedule.
Wynston Hill Capital, in conjunction with Ilex Capital Group, acquired Calgon and Healing Garden in November 2008 forming a new consumer products company, Ilex Consumer Products Group (Ilex CPG). Calgon and Healing Garden are leaders in the specialty bath and body segment. “Calgon is modernizing and expanding its product lines while capitalizing on an incredible brand heritage that still brings nostalgia with its 1970s tagline, ‘Calgon, take me away,’” said Mr. Singman.
Calgon & Healing Garden 2010 Highlights:
- Focused on increasing sales through line extensions targeting younger customers with products including body mists and shower gels
- Revamped and modernized packaging
- Launched new and improved “takemeaway.com”
“Together with Ilex, we have built the perfect platform for a quality consumer products company,” said Mr. Singman. “Wynston Hill is focused on growing these businesses and building a platform where companies will benefit from a solid and well-funded infrastructure, and our dedication to their marketing and brand management.
“We are aggressively pursuing other promising personal care/OTC pharma brands that have a strong consumer franchise and are important to retailers,” said Mr. Shalett.
Wynston Hill Capital recently advised its portfolio company, Ilex CPG, in the acquisition of St. Joseph’s Aspirin from the McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNeil-PPC, Inc., a member of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies. The transaction was supported by a significant equity investment in Ilex CPG by JPB Capital Partners II, L.P.
“Similar to Calgon, St. Joseph’s Aspirin is an iconic brand with a rich history evidenced by its 90%+ consumer brand awareness rating,” said Mr. Shalett. “We see a growing demand for the product as the medical community strongly endorses the use of low-dosage aspirin therapy to prevent heart disease. With this acquisition, St. Joseph’s is well-positioned for growth through increased brand support and plans for line extensions.”
Wynston Hill Capital and Ilex Capital Group acquired Gourmet Express, LLC. in January 2008. Gourmet Express is a leading producer of frozen food products specializing in the frozen skillet meal category through its Gourmet Dining Brand.
“Gourmet Express is now in a strong position to pursue its growth strategy and increase its leadership in the frozen food manufacturing business.” said Mr. Singman. “New product lines, such as Joe’s Crab Shack, announced last year will increase the company’s brand visibility and bring new opportunities for partnerships with other leading food companies.”
Gourmet Express 2010 Highlights:
- Restructured the company for greater efficiencies and productivity
- Launched a new nationally-branded product division and is currently in negotiations for several licenses
- Announced a new nationally-branded seafood product with Joe’s Crab Shack
- Created greater efficiencies following its 2009 move into a larger manufacturing facility that accommodates its growing nationally-branded division with products distributed through Walmart, Costco and Trader Joe’s.
2011: A Look Ahead
“We are extremely excited about both the short- and long-term prospects of all of our portfolio companies. While very different, they are all well positioned to continue to capitalize on growth opportunities by delivering great products in a timely and creative way,” said Mr. Shalett when asked about the coming year. “2010 was a year spent creating a solid foundation for these companies, 2011 will be a year when we really start to see the benefit of those efforts.”
In furtherance of that goal, Wynston Hill is focusing on acquisition opportunities in two main areas:
Non-core (“orphan”) businesses being shed by larger pharmaceutical/consumer product companies These generally include well established, recognized brands that are no longer being actively managed.
Well established, low/ limited growth business being divested by “tired” owners who have been unable to achieve liquidity as a result of the difficult economic environment of the prior few years.
Wynston Hill Capital LLC (www.wynstonhill.com) is a New York City-based boutique investment banking firm focused primarily on serving middle market companies. Wynston Hill partners have a unique expertise in helping companies maximize the value of their brands. The firm combines its strategic financial capabilities with creativity and differentiated thinking to increase collective shareholder value.
The principal activities of the firm are public and private financings, corporate finance services, including mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures, institutional and retail services, asset management and real estate development. Wynston Hill Capital LLC is a Member of FINRA and SIPC.
This press release does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any security and shall not constitute an offer, solicitation, or sale of any securities in any jurisdiction in which such offering, solicitation, or sale would be unlawful.