Private Equity Prior Interests

As Sowell & Co. grew from its core Real Estate Business, it invested in the controlling interests of a variety of operating companies.

 

This diverse representation of former holdings shows how the real estate group can create profits in a wide range of industries.

 Private Equity Prior Interests

 

Sergeant’s Pet Care Products became Sowell & Co.’s third acquisition in the pet food and supplies industry. Acquired in September 2000, Sergeant’s was founded in Richmond, Virginia in 1868 by Polk Miller, who formulated and sold medications for hunting dogs through his drug store. He selected the brand name “Sergeant’s” after his favorite Labrador Retriever and began selling his products through other drug store outlets throughout Virginia. By 1926, Sergeant’s products were available throughout the United States.

 

Sergeant’s has a broad product line of pet supplies with a special focus on flea and tick remedies, health and well-being products, natural treats, toys, bird and small animal products, and other accessories. Sergeant’s brands include Sergeant’s, Evolve, Pronyl, Fiproguard, Vetscriptions Health Care for Pets, Uncle Sam’s, Old West, Bansect, Geisler, Nature’s Guardian, and Sentry Pro.

 

Sergeant’s is based in Omaha, Nebraska, with manufacturing and distribution facilities in Greeley, Colorado, Kansas City, Kansas, and Memphis, Tennessee. Its products are sold in most grocery and drug chain stores, mass merchandise stores, and pet stores throughout the U.S. as well as internationally in 25 countries.

 

Sergeant’s grew almost fivefold under Sowell & Co.’s ownership. Profits have increased even more dramatically. Sowell sold sergeant to Perrigo Inc. in 2013.

Tarrant Aggregates Corporation
Fort Worth, Texas.
A major independent sand and gravel operator in North Texas.
Pirkle Refrigerated Freight Lines
Madison, Wisconsin
One of the top 5 refrigerated freight carriers in the U.S., consisting of almost 400 trucks and refrigerated trailers hauling units coast to coast.
Todd Shipyards
Jersey City, New Jersey
One of the largest shipbuilders in America; formerly a Fortune 500 company. Sowell & Co. purchased, at a deep discount, a majority interest in the debt obligations of the company, because of an anticipated bankruptcy. Once in bankruptcy, Sowell & Co. took board positions and oversaw operations and a partial liquidation. Sowell & Co. realized a 300% gain on investment.
Poser® acquired by the Sowell & Co. in 1989 and sold in 1998, is one of the largest custom manufacturers of print-related products sold to independent distributors in the United States.
The company has a broad customer base, more than 7,000 independent distributors concentrated in the Sunbelt and U.S. West Coast. At the time of its sale to Mail-Well Corp. in 1998, Poser had progressed from five plants to 18 plants. Revenues and operating cash flow more than tripled, with revenues growing from $30 million to $100 million.
Independent Environmental Services, Inc.
Founded in 1995, IESI has grown from a 2-truck hauling company, to the 10th largest solid waste company in the United States. IESI sold to BFI Canoda in 2011.
Inovar Packaging Group, Inc.
Inovar Packaging Group, purchased by Sowell & Co. in 1990, is a force in the flexible packaging industry. The acquisition of Craftmark Labels occurred in late 1999.
Union Industrial Gas Supply
Once an industry dominated by approximately 5,000 independent distributors, supplying gases and related equipment to the manufacturing, medical and electronic sectors. Today the industrial gases industry is controlled by a relative handful of major international companies, several of which are themselves consolidating.
By combining individual operations under one management team and financial structure, Sowell & Co. added strength and stability to these companies.
Sowell & Co. has entered the industrial gases arena during an exciting time of change, allowing the company to make a positive impact on the industry.
Union’s distribution locations in California, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and Florida form solid relationships with heavy industry in those locations. Union was sold in separate transactions to Air Gas and Air Products.
Sowell Storage Ltd.
Sowell & Co. ventured into the self-storage industry, which serves an important function in both commercial and residential real estate markets. The company, through its subsidiary, Value Storage, Ltd., purchased a portfolio of 69 self- storage properties.
The 69 self-storage facilities are located in nine states, and the properties range in size up to 64,000 net rentable square feet. Designed to offer accessible storage for personal and business use at a relatively low cost, the units offer renters fully enclosed spaces that are fenced, paved, well-lighted and managed by a resident manager.
Value storage was sold in 2000 to a major purchaser of storage facilities.
Metrofinanciera
Metrofinanciera is a single-family mortgage company lending and servicing new construction home loans in Mexico. Its home office is in Monterrey with 14 offices throughout northern Mexico and Mexico City. Metrofinanciera is a major originator of Fondo de Operacion y Financiamento Bancario a La Vivienda (FOVI) loans, the equivalent of FHA loans in the United States.
Stiva
Based in Monterrey, Mexico, Stiva is an industrial warehouse developer. Sowell & Co. was a partner with Stiva in warehouses in its Airport and Barragon industrial parks. Virtually all of Stiva’s tenants are U.S. Fortune 1000 companies. All financial and contractual aspects of tenancy are in U.S. currency, English language and U.S. law.
Quality developments of Stiva in Monterrey, Mexico capitalize on their U.S. trade relationships. Sowell & Co. sold its ownership stake in these ventures in 2006.
Great American Clubs, Inc.
In late 1981, Sowell & Co. purchased Great Southwest Golf Club, 180 acres in the Great Southwest Industrial Park. Existing deed restrictions would have held the property to its use as a golf course for seven subsequent years. But later that year, the company arranged for a partial release of the land and sale that paid back the original investment, allowing the company to retain the golf course and grow into the golf course business at minimal cost. Employing reliable cost management principles, the company nurtured the golf club into a solid performer. This began a tradition of flourishing success and led to the formation of Great American Clubs, Inc. A total of seven private country clubs were acquired in Texas and Colorado. In 1995, Great American Clubs was sold to a publicly
held corporation, yielding a substantial profit.

Aaren Scientific was founded in 1989 with the goal of developing the most scientifically advanced intraocular lenses and surgical products available for the ophthalmic industry. An early innovator in the

use of computer-controlled manufacturing of intraocular lenses (IOLs), Aaren Scientific has always viewed exceptional quality as the foundation of for its products. As the first IOL manufacturer in the United States to be awarded a CE registration, enabling the company to sell its products in Europe, Aaren Scientific has remained dedicated to the science of delivering the highest visual acuity with its IOLs throughout the world. Thus, Aaren continues to maintain its record of achievement and reputation for excellence within the industry. Aaren Scientific was sold to Carl Zeiss Meditee, AG in January, 2013.


Seelbach Hilton
Built in 1905, the Seelbach Hilton in Louisville, Kentucky, is a 312- room hotel landmark.

Sheraton Brookhollow Houston

Meristar
Meristar (formerly American General Hospitality) is the largest independent, non-branded hotel management company in the world. Officially formed in 1998, Meristar’s roots reach back to 1981 and the founding of American General Hospitality. Sowell & Co.’s involvement in this venture began in 1998, when it bought the majority interest in the management company, American General Hospitality Corp.

During the banking and S&L crisis of the 1980’s, Sowell & Co. predicted that the many hotel foreclosures would foster explosive management demand and that a turnaround in the industry was near. The company grew from managing 1,696 rooms at acquisition to 42,466 rooms in 1998. Managing properties with combined revenue in excess of $1 billion. American General was merged and today operates as Interstate Hotels.

 Resourcing Edge Inc. (REI) is a professional employer organization (PEO) providing a single source of integrated services enabling business owners to cost-effectively outsource the management of human resources, employee benefits, risk/safety assessment, payroll and workers’ compensation and other strategic services. Sowell & Co. joined with existing management and invested in the Company in August 2010.

 

Sowell & Company

1601 Elm Street
Suite 3500
Thanksgiving Tower
Dallas, Texas 75201
(214) 871-3320 Phone
(214) 871-1620 Fax