“We were super excited to partner with TorQuest and CDPQ – they supported us executing initiatives in product innovation, acquisitions, and geographic expansion. They were such an important piece of our success building Barrette Outdoor Living for the future.”
The founder and owner of Barrette Outdoor Living (BOL), a leading wood-alternative fence and railing designer and manufacturer, was looking to sell the business to focus on other family investments. Our relationship with his Canadian advisor enabled us to be one of a select group of Canadian funds invited to participate, which we did in partnership with Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ).
When COVID-19 hit in March 2020, the sale process was put on hold, but we continued to stay in close touch during the ensuing months. We re-launched the sale discussions in summer 2020 when we were confident the financing markets would allow us to proceed. Our all-Canadian investor group with CDPQ was the clear preference over the few U.S.-based alternatives still around the deal and we closed the transaction in November 2020, with BOL’s founder rolling a portion of his equity to retain a significant stake in the business.
Under the leadership of Jean desAutels, BOL’s CEO, we put in place an experienced Board of Directors with deep industry knowledge, augmented the management team around Jean, completed two acquisitions to grow BOL westward in the U.S., and diversified away from BOL’s historical concentration in the big box retail channel. As a result, EBITDA more than doubled during our two years of ownership. We explored the idea of taking BOL public, but ultimately decided to sell the business for an excellent return to CRH plc. Jean and his management team have remained with the business as it continues its expansion under CRH ownership.