December 14, 2009

TorQuest: Deep Industry Expertise and Proven Record of Growth

TorQuest’s principals have completed 15 investments in the chemicals sector over a 20 year period and have purchased over 10 divisions from large corporations.

  • TorQuest Partners is one of Canada’s leading managers of private equity funds. The firm has more than $700 million of equity capital under management and a proven track record of identifying and building value for its investors and portfolio companies. 
  • Founded in 2002, TorQuest’s objective is to acquire significant ownership stakes in established businesses and then to work closely with management to create value and drive growth. 
  • The firm has strong relationships and deep experience across many different industry sectors acquired through decades of private equity investments by its principals. 
  • TorQuest has developed particular competitive advantages in chemicals manufacturing, business services, financial services, food and consumer products. 
  • TorQuest’s principals have completed 15 investments in the chemicals sector over a 20 year period and have purchased over 10 divisions from large corporations. Examples of chemical industry investing and corporate carve-outs include: 

Case Study: The Growth of Marsulex Inc. 

  • In 1989, Brent Belzberg, TorQuest’s founding partner, spearheaded the acquisition of CIL Inc.‘s sulphur products business, forming the independent company Marsulex in the process. At that time, Marsulex was the leading player in the North American sulphur chemical industry. 
  • Over the next nine years, Marsulex strengthened its relationships with key customers and expanded its technology base, product and service offerings and geographic reach, and established leadership positions servicing new industries such as oil refining and coal fired power plants. 
  • In 1996, Marsulex was listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Based on the listing price, the original investors’ equity value had grown by approximately 20 times since 1989. Marsulex has since partnered with several major corporations, including Syncrude Canada in the Canadian Oil Sands to construct an environmental compliance facility. 
  • To date, the company’s equity value has grown by nearly 100 times what Belzberg and others paid 20 years ago. 

Case Study: Building SPI Polyols, Inc. 

  • In 1994, Belzberg lead the acquisition of ICI Plc.‘s sugar alcohol business in Delaware and formed SPI Polyols. 
  • Working with management, they set out to globalize the business, strengthen its relationships with customers, add new products and applications, and drive innovation and operational efficiencies. 
  • Between 1994 and 1998, SPI Polyols completed four strategic investments in Brazil, France and North America, partnered with a Belgian company to build a new plant in France and successfully developed a number of new products. 
  • In four years, SPI Polyols grew into a global supplier of value-added specialty products. 
  • In 1998, Associated British Foods, a large diversified British conglomerate, acquired SPI Polyols in a transaction that valued the company at approximately five times what it was purchased for in 1994. 

Case Study: Acquisition of Priority Control Systems and Traffic Detection Division from 3M 

  • In 2007, TorQuest partnered with management to acquire 3M’s Opticom& Priority Control Systems and Canoga® Traffic Detection businesses. The independent company, which is headquartered in Minnesota, was named Global Traffic Technologies (GTT).
  • TorQuest identified a number of opportunities that exist for the business as a standalone company and made a commitment to investing in the development of new products, services and technologies that provided value to GTT’s customers. 
  • In the eighteen months of ownership, GTT’s total number of employees increased from 27 on closing to approximately 50, primarily to support product development and sales. 
  • The investment in R&D has resulted in six patents being awarded, two patents pending, two filings and five in draft. In addition, three new software and one hardware application have been successfully launched to market during TorQuest’s ownership. 
  • Despite the challenging environment for municipal spending, the investment in sales resources has dramatically increased the sales pipeline with significant sales being funded through stimulus dollars.