Mill Rock Capital Establishes Advanced Materials Growth Platform
and Acquires Asbury Carbons Inc.
Forges Partnership with the Riddle Family
NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 5, 2023— Mill Rock Capital (“Mill Rock”), a growth and operations oriented private investment firm, announced today that it has formed a new growth platform, Mill Rock Advanced Materials LLC (“Mill Rock Advanced Materials”), focused on investments in the advanced materials and industrial additives solutions markets. Simultaneously, Mill Rock announced that Mill Rock Advanced Materials has acquired Asbury Carbons, Inc. (“Asbury”) from the Riddle family and the Asbury Carbons, Inc. Employee Stock Ownership Plan (“ESOP”). In connection with the transaction, Stephen A. Riddle has made a significant investment in the company and will remain on its board of directors. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Asbury, founded in 1895 by Harry M. Riddle and based in Asbury, New Jersey, is a leading provider of advanced materials, specializing in carbon additive solutions for a wide range of end markets and applications. The company is North America’s largest processor and supplier of natural and synthetic graphite and cokes and the world’s largest independent processor of graphite. Asbury sources these materials on a global basis and operates 12 facilities in which the company processes and distributes a broad range of application-specific materials and additives to customers’ exacting performance requirements. Asbury’s products are used in polymers and rubbers, paints and coatings, lubricants, specialty ceramics, friction products, insulation and other materials. The company’s additives impart differentiating qualities alone or in combination with other materials, including thermal and electrical conductivity, lubrication, pore formation, filtration, purification, and strength enhancement. Asbury’s manufacturing and distribution locations are located in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and the Netherlands, with sales offices across North America, Europe and Asia.
Natural and synthetic graphite have broad uses across many industries and applications. Global demand for graphite is expected to increase due to ongoing trends in low emission energy generation, sustainable transportation, lightweighting, electrification, digitalization and other factors. Graphite is a critical raw material in batteries, solar panels and wind turbines, as well as an additive in composite materials for lightweighting in aerospace and automotive applications. Graphite’s conductive and thermal properties are important in electrification and digitalization applications, such as heat management in electronics and as anode material in lithium-ion batteries. Its filtration properties play a key role in reducing carbon emissions and in the treatment and purification of water. Graphite and related products, such as graphene, can also enhance the performance of other advanced technologies in aerospace, energy, construction and other markets.
In connection with the transaction, Mill Rock has appointed Gregg A. Jones as Asbury’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Previously, Gregg was CEO of EP Minerals. Scott Palm has joined as Senior Vice President Strategy and Innovation, having previously served in a similar role at EP Minerals. Eric Walmet, formerly of Ingevity Corporation, has joined Asbury as Senior Vice President Operations. All positions are new or were previously vacant. Noah Nichelson will remain President and Chief Operating Officer. Ed Rose, Mill Rock Senior Partner and former President of Ingevity Corporation, will join Asbury’s board of directors.
“I’m delighted to join the Asbury team and see a very bright future for our business and the graphite industry,” said Mr. Jones. “This is an exciting day for Asbury’s associates and customers as we embark on a new chapter of growth. Asbury has cultivated the leading market position over many years through an unparalleled focus on customer success and product innovation. Going forward, we will seek to accelerate growth through further investment in people, applications, processes and systems, as well as through selective acquisitions,” he added.
“Mill Rock is the ideal partner for the success of the Asbury organization, our people and our customers. Their ongoing investment and additional resources will support our unwavering commitment to provide our customers with the same high quality, bespoke products they’ve counted on for the last 128 years, while developing new advanced materials and additive solutions for next generation challenges. Our industry is entering a growth phase in which differentiated graphite applications are in high demand, and Asbury is optimally suited to meet those needs,” said President Noah Nichelson.
Mill Rock Co-Founders Christopher Whalen and Adi Pekmezovic stated, “We are incredibly honored that the Riddle family has entrusted us with the business they started nearly 130 years ago. We are eager to continue their legacy and invest in the company’s next phase of growth and product innovation. Asbury pioneered the North American graphite market and is the consummate foundation upon which to build an advanced materials platform.”
Moelis & Company LLC, PJT Park Hill, Alvarez & Marsal Transaction Advisory Group, White & Case LLP, Foley & Lardner LLP and Advancy advised Mill Rock Capital on the transaction. PNC Bank, N.A. provided debt financing. Deloitte Corporate Finance LLC acted as financial advisor to Asbury on the transaction.
ABOUT ASBURY CARBONS, INC.
Founded in 1895 by Harry M. Riddle and based in Asbury, NJ, Asbury Carbons Inc. is the world's most reliable source for high-quality graphite, cokes, carbon materials and engineered solutions. The company provides more than 2,000 grades of materials which it processes to customers’ exacting requirements for a broad range of applications including polymers and rubbers, paints and coatings, lubricants, specialty ceramics, friction products, insulation and other materials. For nearly 130 years Asbury has set an industry standard for meeting customers’ needs, providing flexible and innovative solutions and investing in employees. The company operates 12 manufacturing locations across the U.S., Mexico, Canada and the Netherlands and has sales offices across North America, Europe and Asia. For more information, please visit https://www.asbury.com/.
ABOUT MILL ROCK CAPITAL
Great Mill Rock LLC dba Mill Rock Capital is a growth and operations oriented private investment firm that invests in well-positioned middle market industrial businesses in North America. Founded by Christopher Whalen and Adi Pekmezovic, Mill Rock Capital is purpose-built to invest in family-owned businesses, owner-operators and founder-led companies across six industry verticals. Focus sectors include chemicals, materials and packaging; industrial distribution; services; metals and engineered materials; transportation and logistics; and specialty manufacturing. This strategy leverages the deep expertise of the firm’s principals, a majority of whom have direct operating experience in these same industries. Mill Rock Capital supports business transformation through a dual-sourcing strategy encompassing majority equity and Activ Capital® – debt, senior equity or hybrid investments which provide business owners value-added financial partnership without relinquishing a controlling stake. For more information, please visit https://millrockcap.com/.
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