June 02, 2022
Acquisition expands a national platform of outsourced HPP and cold chain solutions located across 7 geographic regions within a truck-day of all major food production hubs.
LINCOLN, NE & DELPHOS, OH – June 2, 2022 Universal Pure Holdings, LLC (“Universal Pure”), the largest independent provider of high pressure processing (“HPP”) and cold chain solutions for food & beverage customers in North America and portfolio company of Tilia Holdings, is pleased to announce its acquisition of Hydrofresh Ltd. (“Hydrofresh HPP”), an outsourced HPP and cold storage provider with a leading market presence in the Midwest, from Keller Logistics Group, Inc (“Keller Logistics”) on May 31, 2022. HPP is a high growth food safety and quality technology used to inactivate foodborne pathogens and spoilage microorganisms in food and beverage products. HPP extends product shelf-life without the use of additives or preservatives to enable a clean-label without compromising taste, texture or nutritional value.
The transaction expands Universal Pure’s geographic reach in the Midwest, facilitating the delivery of higher levels of service and quality to its growing base of over 150 food and beverage customers. The combined company operates 20 HPP machines across its national, strategic facility footprint of seven locations, which makes it one of the largest users of HPP globally. With Universal Pure’s and Hydrofresh HPP’s partnership, the company’s footprint is located within a truck-day of all major food production hubs in the U.S., yielding an unmatched ability to move food & beverage products across the HPP supply chain.
Located in northwestern Ohio, Hydrofresh HPP was founded in 2018 by Keller Logistics Group and Don Klausing to provide HPP, cold storage, and distribution services to food & beverage customers. Guided by a sincere focus on customer service, the company has steadily increased its HPP capacity in its state-of-the-art facility and has made significant investments in the local community. “We started with seven full-time employees and now have over 100 employees. Since 2018 we’ve installed a second machine to keep servicing our customers’ growing need for HPP. Both Hydrofresh HPP and Universal Pure are focused on helping food manufacturers provide high-quality products with clean labels that consumers are demanding today. The HPP technology also provides a longer shelf life and with that, less food waste. By joining the Universal Pure network, we’ll be able to expand our customers’ access to HPP services across the U.S.,” said Mr. Klausing, President of Hydrofresh HPP.
“We are thrilled to add Hydrofresh HPP to the Universal Pure network, which builds a truly national platform of HPP-centered cold chain solutions. We have great respect and admiration for the company Don and his team have built over the past four years and look forward to working with the Hydrofresh HPP team to drive further growth across our businesses,” said Jeff Williams, CEO of Universal Pure.
“Adding Hydrofresh HPP’s capabilities to Universal Pure will enable us to better serve our customers and their supply chain needs to deliver safe, healthy and clean label foods,” added Mr. Williams. “Through the dedication of our combined team of nearly 800 employees, we are thrilled about the opportunity to further cement our leadership position in the HPP industry. This transaction showcases Universal Pure’s commitment to invest in our capabilities and services to further advance adoption of HPP.”
Bryan Keller, CEO of Keller Logistics Group added, “The process of HPP was brought to my attention by the Mayor of Defiance, Ohio because he thought that Keller Logistics Group’s experience in warehousing and distribution provided the capabilities to bring HPP to northwestern Ohio. Since HPP is outside of Keller Logistics Group’s core focus of logistics, we feel that partnering with Universal, the market leading provider of HPP services, is better for the business and the Hydrofresh HPP team. Don and his team’s expertise have made Hydrofresh HPP a success. Now they will become part of a larger network allowing them to continue to serve their customers, expand their services, and provide quality jobs for the residents of Delphos, Ohio.”
Mr. Klausing will retain his leadership role of Hydrofresh HPP, focusing on the growth of the combined entity’s business.
Mayer Brown LLP served as legal advisors to Universal Pure and Twin Brook Capital Partners provided debt financing in support of the transaction.
About Hydrofresh HPP
Hydrofresh HPP provides custom high pressure processing services to the food and beverage industry, utilizing proven technology that substantially improves the safety and extends the shelf life of packaged products without chemical additives or preservatives. The company’s SQF certified facility in Delphos, OH also offers cold storage capabilities. For more information, please visit www.hydrofreshhpp.com/.
About Universal Pure
Universal Pure is the market leading provider of food safety solutions across the cold chain and is dedicated to helping ensure the safety and quality of food & beverage products. The company is largest independent provider of high pressure processing in North America. Universal Pure operates 18 HPP machines across a strategic facility network of locations in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Through its facility footprint, totaling 1.1 million square feet, Universal delivers an integrated solution and is a trusted partner in HPP, refrigerated and frozen storage, beverage bottling, kitting and assembly, tempering, and other value-added cold chain services. Learn more at www.universalpure.com.
About Keller Logistics Group
Keller Logistics Group is an asset based 3PL dedicated to serving the transportation, warehousing, distribution and contract packaging needs of manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers across the U.S. The company’s suite of services provides efficient closed loop logistics solutions through one provider minimizing the additional costs associated with multiple logistics resource outsourcing. For more information, please visit www.kellerlogistics.com/.
About Tilia Holdings
Tilia is a Chicago-based private investment firm focused exclusively on making control investments in the evolving “farm-to-fork” segment of the global food system. Tilia partners with growing, middle market companies who provide business services across the food supply chain and support leading, emerging and private-label CPG brands. The firm’s sector focused strategy is a successful approach to investments that spans three decades. Tilia’s deep understanding of operations enables a collaborative partnership approach with management and uniquely positions the firm to scale business service companies in the lower middle market. Through a value creation & governance model emphasizing stewardship, Tilia builds distinctive growth companies that enhance safety, nutrition & sustainability in the food supply chain. For more information, please visit www.tiliallc.com.