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Gryphon Investors, a leading middle-market private equity firm, has announced it has acquired Benoist Brothers Supply Co., a Midwest-based regional distributor of HVAC/R (heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration) equipment, parts and supplies. Gryphon plans to operate the company as an independent division of its Wittichen Supply Holding Company under the Benoist brand, alongside existing portfolio company Wittichen Supply Company, a wholesale distributor of HVAC/R equipment, parts, supplies, and customer service to residential and commercial customers based in the Southeastern United States. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Benoist will continue to be led by its current management team, including CEO Peter Warren. Warren, along with the Benoist family, will retain a minority investment stake in the company.
Headquartered in Mount Vernon, Illinois, and Fenton, Missouri, Benoist is a 90-year-old, family-owned HVAC/R distributor with 13 branch locations across Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee. The Company offers a broad portfolio of products, including Ruud equipment, a sister brand to Wittichen's core brand Rheem. Benoist has been actively growing, including through its acquisition of NuComfort in late 2018 to expand its presence to the Chicago area.
Craig Nikrant, Gryphon's dedicated operating partner to its Heritage Fund team, said, "The addition of Benoist creates a leading, multi-region distribution platform serving customers in eight states. Benoist and Wittichen, which share similar histories and cultures and a focus on superior service to contractor customers, will work together to create broad availability of parts, supplies and equipment across a larger territory. This also represents an exciting opportunity for Benoist and Wittichen to bolster their already strong relationships with Ruud and Rheem, respectively, opening a new path for growth. We are pleased to support Benoist as it continues to invest for its future."
Alex Averitt, CEO of Wittichen Supply Holding Company, added, "We are thrilled to welcome Peter and the Benoist team. Like Wittichen, Benoist is a longstanding leading distributor with an established market share in its core markets and strong customer and supplier relationships. The Company's product offerings are highly complementary to those of Wittichen, and its position as one of the largest HVAC/R distributors in Illinois provides us with a springboard for growth in the Midwest."
Warren also noted, "We are delighted to be working alongside Wittichen and Gryphon. We look forward to being part of a larger organization with a wider array of product offerings and resources, which provides us with additional growth opportunities as we continue to deliver premium service and a superior customer experience."
Wittichen was advised by legal counsel Kirkland & Ellis. Wachtel Missry served as legal counsel to Benoist Brothers and Uplift Partners served as exclusive financial advisor to the Company.