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Auxo Investment Partners acquires majority stake in Muskegon marine transporter COURTESY PHOTO

Auxo Investment Partners acquires majority stake in Muskegon marine transporter

BY Thursday, February 21, 2019 08:00am

GRAND RAPIDS — Private equity firm Auxo Investment Partners moved deeper into the marine transportation business with an investment in Muskegon-based Andrie Inc.

Auxo acquired a majority stake in Andrie, a 31-year-old, family-owned company that operates a fleet of 19 tugs and barges throughout the Great Lakes, from Chicago to the Saint Lawrence Seaway, that transport bulk goods such as liquid asphalt, cement, light oil petroleum products and calcium chloride.

As Auxo looks to build a platform of marine transport companies, “Andrie is a great fit for us,” Managing Partner Jeff Helminski told MiBiz. Andrie meets Auxo’s acquisition criteria for investing in mature industrial companies that hold a “best-in-class position” within their sector, he said.

“The guys really do set the gold standard on the Great Lakes,” Helminski said.

The deal complements Auxo’s December 2017 acquisition of New Orleans-based barge company M/G Transport Services, which operates a fleet of 250 barges in a market that runs from Houston, Texas, to Mobile, Ala., and from the mouth of the Mississippi River up to Baton Rouge, La.

Both Andrie and M/G Transport Services operate under the newly created Auxo Marine platform. Industry veterans Greg Binion and John Binion serve on the boards of each company.

Auxo is looking at additional opportunities for Auxo Marine, whether on the East Coast or West Coast, as well as along the Gulf Coast, Helminski said. Future deals could include specialized transporters handling niche products and transportation terminals.

“It’s really going to be broadly across the country. The bulk of it will be the Mississippi and eastward,” he said.

Terms of the Andrie deal were undisclosed.

The deal was the sixth in 16 months for Auxo, bringing the private equity firm’s total capital under management to nearly $100 million.

Stan Andrie Jr. remains CEO of Andrie, which was founded by his mother, Barbara Andrie, in 1988. The family retained a “very significant” minority stake of the company, which employs about 150 people.

“It really is a partnership with Stan and his family,” Helminski said of the deal.

Auxo’s Midwest roots and ties with the marine industry through the ownership of M/G Transport Services contributed to the decision to partner with Auxo, Stan Andrie Jr. said.

“This company has been a big part of my family since its earliest days, so deciding to bring in a new partner wasn’t a decision we took lightly,”Andrie Jr. stated. “Not only is this new partnership a cultural fit that will preserve the legacy of what we’ve accomplished, it’s one that will position us for strong growth in the years ahead.”

Advisors and lenders on the transaction include Capstone Headwaters LLC, Miller Johnson PLC, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, BDO USA LLP, PNC Bank, Aon Plc, Krauter & Co. and Advantage Benefits Group Inc.

Read 5328 times Last modified on Wednesday, 20 February 2019 22:28
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