Canadian buyouts create new ‘powerhouse’ in commercial refrigeration


Ronin Equity Partners has acquired two leading North American manufacturers of commercial refrigeration equipment, QBD and Minus Forty, for an enterprise value of $230m.

The Greater Toronto-based brands will continue to be marketed under their own names, but the merged group will be a platform for consolidation in the fragmented refrigerated display case industry, where 60% of the market is divided between over 100 family-owned businesses.

In addition to being the industry’s largest provider of pet food coolers, Minus Forty has developed product presentation coolers and freezers for the micro market and food industries that are enhanced by industry-leading smart technology.

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QBD is a leader in beverage cooler sales and high concept, cost-efficient, and customized refrigerated displays. It uses state-of-the art EPA-certified Energy Star products and environmentally friendly natural refrigerants.

David Feierstein, managing partner of Ronin, said the deal creates a “powerhouse” in commercial refrigeration, with technologies and expertise that will usher in an era of energy efficiency, high concept design and innovation in a sector that’s growing 6% annually.

“We are going to create a foundation of continued consolidation in a fragmented sector that rewards scale with higher margins and better than average growth,” he vowed. “The team we’re assembling will leverage the full breadth of Ronin’s capabilities in integration, operational excellence and commercial expertise.”

The merged group is looking at multiple acquisitions in the US, Europe and Latin America.

Safder Jaffer, president of QBD, said: “This deal expands our reach into new sectors, it widens the use of our green cooling deck design, and allows us to leverage Minus Forty’s internet of things technology to reinforce our position in the beverage sector.”

Julian Attree, co-founder of Minus Forty, added: “The expanded group will double manufacturing capacity, allow us to expand our unbeatable value proposition, and combines cutting-edge, complementary technologies to create a fantastic platform for buy-and-build acquisitions.”

Both Attree and Jaffer will be actively involved in the combined business. One of Ronin’s managing partners, Jesse Yao, will become CFO, and two other Ronin executives will hold senior roles.

The group’s chief executive will be Ronin operating advisor, Troy Shannan, who is joining from Nonni’s Foods, where he was executive vice president in charge of supply chain and manufacturing.

Prior to that, he ran global operations and supply chain at Kraft Heinz. Existing management and the acquired companies’ founders will retain a significant stake in the new group.

Tags : Minus FortyQBDrefrigerated displaysRefrigerationRonin Equity Partners
Andrew Seymour

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