Spotlight
Spotlight
At Littlejohn, the success of our portfolio companies is the foundation of the Firm's success. Our approach is driven by the unique needs of each company in which we invest.

Our investments typically fall into three categories:

Good to Great

  • Business and Situation

    CTI supplies customized protein products, soups, and beans for casual dining and quick serve restaurants.  At the time of Littlejohn's acquisition the business was profitable and highly regarded, but was a regional supplier with a concentrated customer base, had management succession issues, a limited product line, and an unclear strategy for differentiation and growth.

     

    Transformation

    Leadership - Recruited a leadership team to replace a group of retiring executives.
    Product Line Expansion - Built a world class soup and sauce processing facility.
    Product Development - Built a state-of-the-art culinary development center.
    Geographic Expansion - Acquired two production facilities which expanded CTI's footprint from a regional to a national supplier.
    New Customers - Diversified the customer base through the launch of several new products and customer wins.
    Cost - Reduced costs by consolidating production and procurement.
    Production Capabilities and Capacity - Invested to expand capacity, efficiency, and production capabilities.

     

    Result

    CTI successfully re-positioned as the industry-leading supplier of custom food solutions to quick serve restaurants.  Revenues and EBITDA doubled in three years and the company was sold to a group of mega private equity funds.


  • Business and Situation

    Kenan Advantage Group, Inc. is the premier logistics and liquid bulk transportation provider to the fuels, chemicals, food, and specialty products industries.  Although the company had the leading market position and was profitable, the founding management team had ambitions to substantially increase the size of the company and needed a new partner to support their plans.

     

    Transformation

    Acquisitions - Littlejohn supported the founding management team in the acquisition of regional bulk carriers as well as private fleets with total revenues of approximately $200 million.

    Expansion - Enabled Kenan to enter the bulk chemical, food and alternative energy hauling markets.

    Technology - Developed proprietary logistics technology platform that both improved internal operations and created new revenue/profit stream.

    Diversification - Through organic growth and acquisitions, Kenan's customer, market, and service offerings became substantially more diversified.

     

    Result

    Revenues increased by 47% and EBITDA increased by 82%.  Kenan was sold to a group of mega private equity funds after 5 years with the founding management team able to continue as managers/investors while achieving significant liquidity.


  • Business and Situation

    Henniges Automotive is a leading provider of highly-engineered sealing and anti-vibration systems for automotive applications globally and is the second largest player in North America. Littlejohn invested in the business in late 2010 when the automotive industry was still mired in a deep recession and tremendous turmoil.

     

    Transformation

    Global Expansion - As major OEM customers demanded that their suppliers be global, Littlejohn focused on growing Henniges' international manufacturing and engineering footprint.  Henniges acquired and/or built facilities in the Czech Republic, China, and Mexico.

    Leadership - Littlejohn upgraded the company's leadership at both the corporate and regional levels.

    Efficiency - Littlejohn optimized the efficiencies and costs of Henniges' new global manufacturing foot print by consolidating facilities.

    New Business - The enhanced global footprint helped the company win significant new programs with major OEMs, including Ford, GM, BMW, and VW.

     

    Result

    Together with Henniges' world class management team Littlejohn transformed the company into a global leader in its space, achieving double digit revenue growth, and more than doubling EBITDA.

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Corporate Carve-Outs

  • Business and Situation

    The Industrial Diamond division of General Electric.  While the division had some very unique product and process capabilities, the division was non-core to GE and was faced with a severe decline in revenues and profits during the preceding five years due to competitive pricing issues in commodity product segments.

     

    Transformation

    Carve-Out - Supported management in the division's transformation to an independent company.

    New Product Development - Invested in and accelerated new product development in niche, high-margin product segments, such as oil and gas exploration, advanced alloy metalworking, and complex materials machining.

    New Process Technology - Invested significantly in proprietary process technology to revitalize a money losing plant in Ireland.

    Global Sourcing - Established a Chinese joint venture to secure low cost sourcing of certain raw materials and intermediate products.

     

    Result

    Stabilized business and achieved revenue and EBITDA growth along with strong cash flow generation.  After 3 years the business was sold to industrial tool producer, The Sandvik Group.

  • Restructurings

    • Business and Situation

      Latham offers the widest range of products in the industry, including components for packaged pools, fiberglass pools, manual and automatic pool safety covers, and other pool accessories.  Prior to restructuring, the company offered many disparate brands and had an unclear go-to-market strategy.  After the financial crisis of 2008 the entire swimming pool industry was in distress.  New pool construction had dropped over 70% and had reached a level not seen since the mid-1970s.  Latham was overleveraged and in need of a restructuring.

       

      Transformation

      Financial Restructuring - Littlejohn acquired debt in the secondary market and led a financial restructuring through a pre-arranged bankruptcy process.  The result was $178M of debt was cancelled and the company emerged from bankruptcy in 30 days with only $20M of debt.

      Recruit Management - With the strongest balance sheet in the industry and clear growth strategy, Latham was able to recruit a new CFO, VP of Sales, VP of Marketing, and VP of Operations.

      Acquistion - In the past two years Latham has acquired four businesses to increase geographic penetration.

      Marketing & Sales - During Littlejohn's ownership, the company's marketing has been consolidated into a corporate-wide effort with a focus on the key national brands.  In addition, Latham has expanded its distribution channels.

      Product Development - During Littlejohn's ownership the company has successfully introduced new products.

       

      Result

      Since Littlejohn's ownership, Latham has gained market share and grown at 12% CAGR.


    • Business and Situation

      Contech Engineered Solutions is a leading designer, manufacturer and distributor of engineered solutions for the North American construction market.  Littlejohn led a financial restructuring of Contech, which was completed in early 2012.  Contech had been owned by a series of private equity firms leading into the economic crisis.  In the downturn, Contech's markets were deeply impacted, with the company's revenue falling from over $800 million to around $500 million.  The business was saddled with too much debt and had already attempted a series of financial and operational restructurings. 

       

      Transformation

      Acquisitions - We have done several add-on deals, and have worked with management to build a pipeline of large potentially transformative acquisitions.

      Cost Reductions - Contech management executed a major restructuring in early 2013 that reduced costs by more than $15 million.

      Rebuilding the business - Although we own about 25% of the company, we are the shareholder that works most closely with management. Littlejohn has partnered directly with the company's CEO and we are dedicated to helping Contech recapture their market leadership and maintain financial stability.

       

      Result

      When Littlejohn got involved, the restructuring process was heading toward a bankruptcy filing with a no real leadership in the lender group.  We took a leadership role, kept the company out of bankruptcy, and drove consensus around a debt for equity exchange.

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