Ronin Equity Partners, a New York City-based investment firm, has acquired two North American manufacturers of propane (R290)-based commercial refrigeration display equipment, QBD and Minus Forty, both located in Canada’s Greater Toronto area.
According to Ronin, the combined company will be the number-two player by sales in the North American refrigerated display market.
The brands will continue to be marketed under their own names, but the merged group will be “a platform for consolidation in the fragmented refrigerated display case industry,” where 60% of the market is divided between over one hundred family-owned businesses, said Ronin in a statement. Targets include “multiple acquisitions” in the U.S., Europe and Latin America.
QBD is a manufacturer of R290-based beverage coolers and refrigerated displays. In 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), through its efficiency-promoting Energy Star program, selected QBD as one of 206 organizations receiving 2021 Partner of the Year awards. The company was cited for “improving refrigeration equipment energy efficiency through integrated design, including an R290 compressor, specially programmed controllers, motors, LED lighting, and reduced charge amounts up to 90.5%.”
“This deal expands our reach into new sectors, it widens the use of our green cooling deck design, and allows us to leverage Minus Forty’s internet of things technology to reinforce our position in the beverage sector,” said Safder Jaffer, President of QBD.
Minus Forty a provider of R290-based pet food coolers, has developed product presentation coolers and freezers for the micro market and food industries that are enhanced by smart technology (i.e. the “internet of things”), according to Ronin. The company converted all of its portfolio to R290 in 2017 due to U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) regulations
“The expanded group will double manufacturing capacity, allow us to expand our unbeatable value proposition, and combines cutting-edge, complementary technologies to create a fantastic platform for buy-and-build acquisitions,” said Julian Attree, Co-Founder of Minus Forty.
A new ‘powerhouse’
“The Minus Forty and QBD teams will create a powerhouse in commercial refrigeration, with technologies and expertise that will usher in an era of energy efficiency, high-concept design and innovation in a sector that’s growing six percent annually,” said Ronin Chief Investment Officer Ike Helene.
The QBD and Minus Forty transaction – sourced on a proprietary basis through Ronin’s network of operating advisors – has an enterprise value of $230 million.
The double-digit top and bottom-line growth of QBD and Minus Forty “should be significantly enhanced by raw material purchasing synergies, a combined sales force, organic expansion into new sectors and future acquisitions,” said Ronin.
Both Attree and Jaffer will be actively involved in the combined business. One of Ronin’s Managing Partners, Jesse Yao, will become Chief Financial Officer, and two other Ronin executives will hold senior roles. The group’s Chief Executive will be Ronin operating advisor, Troy Shannan, who is joining from Nonni’s Foods, where he was Executive Vice President in charge of Supply Chain and Manufacturing.
Northleaf Capital Partners, Cherng Family Trust, Stephens Capital Partners, Nicola Wealth, Northwood Ventures, Knott Partners and Sope Creek Capital acted as co-investors in the transaction.
“This deal expands our reach into new sectors, it widens the use of our green cooling deck design, and allows us to leverage Minus Forty’s internet of things technology to reinforce our position in the beverage sector.”Safder Jaffer, QBD.