Minneapolis, Minnesota – Norwest Equity Partners (NEP), a leading middle market investment firm founded in 1961, and Gopher Resource (Gopher or the Company), a national environmental solutions provider, have completed the sale of the Company to Energy Capital Partners, a private equity firm focused on investing in North America’s energy infrastructure. The transaction, initially announced on January 30, 2018, officially closed on March 6, 2018; financial terms were not disclosed.
Founded in 1946 in Eagan, MN, Gopher Resource is a leader in its industry, using advanced technology processes to recycle spent automotive, industrial, and stationary batteries in a safe and sustainable manner. Gopher turns batteries into quality materials that manufacturers can use for new batteries and other products, keeping potentially hazardous materials out of landfills and saving valuable resources.
Tim DeVries, NEP Managing General Partner, stated, “Steady and strong performance at the Company’s Eagan plant paired with the successful construction and ramp-up of a new state-of-the-art facility in Tampa has helped cement Gopher’s leadership position in its industry, making it an attractive acquisition candidate. Over the last eight years, our team has worked closely with the Gopher leadership team to significantly impact the performance of the Company, including more than doubling both revenue and profitability as well as increasing the number of jobs by 90 percent. Together, we accomplished a lot – I couldn’t be more proud of the Gopher leadership team and our involvement with the Company.”
NEP was first introduced to Gopher in 2009 by Ben Oehler, a Minneapolis-based family business advisor, as the Company was exploring financing options to build a new facility in Tampa, FL. NEP’s flexible and thoughtful approach resulted in a minority investment in the Company in 2010, and the beginning of a rewarding partnership with the Kutoff and Silverberg families, whom had founded and successfully led the business for decades.
Jeff Jacobsen, Gopher CEO, stated, “Gopher’s partnership with NEP provided us with the strategic insight, robust resources, and long-term vision to help us become an even stronger company – they helped position us for the next chapter of our growth. We have thoroughly appreciated NEP’s guidance, value-added resources and partnership.”
“Joining the NEP family of portfolio companies was a natural fit for us,” stated Mark Kutoff, Gopher Resource Chairman of the Board. “Our 71-year culture of putting customers and employees first remained unchanged during the duration of our partnership with NEP, and that was very important to us. From all aspects, NEP was a great partner for our family-owned company.”
“NEP’s investment enabled the development, construction, and ramp-up of an industry-leading recycling facility in Tampa, increasing capacity of the plant by >5x, and introducing hundreds of new jobs to the local community. In addition, NEP partnered with the founding families to build out a world-class management team, strengthen Gopher’s environmental leadership, and develop truly differentiated R&D capabilities that will benefit Gopher, its customers, and its employees for decades to come. We are excited to watch Gopher’s continued success with its new investment partner,” stated John Hogan, Gopher board member and Partner at Norwest Mezzanine Partners.
J.P. Morgan served as financial advisor; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom provided legal services; and Hogan Lovells served as environmental counsel.
Gopher Resource employs approximately 600 people at recycling facilities in Eagan, MN and Tampa, FL. It also partners with Dakota County (in MN) to operate The Recycling Zone for county households and businesses. For more information visit gopherresource.com.