PPC Partners to help C.H. Guenther & Son write its next chapter

by Keith Nunes
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C.H. Guenther & Son brands
C.H. Guenther & Son's brands include Cuisine Adventures, Pioneer, Morrison's, Williams, White Wings La Paloma, Gizella Pastry, Sun-Bird and Tribeca Oven.
 

CHICAGO — A group led by PPC Partners in partnership with co-investors and management who will continue to lead the company has acquired C.H. Guenther & Son, Inc., San Antonio, Texas, U.S., a manufacturer of grain-based foods and seasoning products for the food service and retail segments. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Founded in 1851, C.H. Guenther has a rich history in the food industry. Products manufactured by the company include artisan bread, buns, rolls, biscuits, gravy mixes, frozen appetizers, spices and desserts. The company employs 2,500 and has three manufacturing locations located in the United States, Canada and Western Europe.

“You can’t get to 167 years in business without a fantastic group of people,” said Michael Nelson, investment partner with PPC Partners. “C.H. Guenther is a clear market leader. They usually have a No. 1 or No. 2 position in key markets.”

In addition to opportunities for organic growth, Mr. Nelson said PPC Partners sees the acquisition as a platform to continue to acquire complementary businesses.

“While this is our first investment in food, we are invested in a number of packaging companies that are a part of the food business,” he said. “So, the same businesses Guenther serves are also served by our other businesses that provide food packaging.”

Tribeca Oven bread, C.H. Guenther & Son
C.H. Guenther & Son acquired Tribeca Oven in 2014.
 

He added that he sees C.H. Guenther continuing to focus on its core competencies and that the company will look to expand its product offerings to its existing group of customers while also looking to expand into new geographies and adjacent categories.

Dale Tremblay, chief executive officer of C.H. Guenther, said PPC Partners’ investment will give the company an opportunity to “write its next chapter.”

“PPC gives us the ability to accelerate our growth,” Mr. Tremblay said. “It also, frankly, provides liquidity to our shareholders who have inherited shares in the company over the past 167 years.”

Mr. Tremblay added that C.H. Guenther has evolved from a regional business that was once 75% retail into a global business that now does 75% of its business in food service.

“We’ve seen demand for food-away-from-home rise,” he said. “We’ve also seen food service change dramatically.”

The current C.H. Guenther management team will continue to lead the company and no changes are planned for the company’s manufacturing footprint, Mr. Tremblay said.

“C.H.G. is a clear market leader with an outstanding management team,” said Tony Pritzker, chairman and c.e.o. of PPC Partners. “Combining our flexible capital base and industry knowledge with this management team will enable the company to generate new opportunities for growth while continuing the family legacy.” 

Pritzker Group formed PPC Partners on April 2 to buy Guenther and other “middle-market companies.”

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