Arlon Food and Agriculture Partners Acquires Wholesome Sweeteners
NEW YORK, April 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Arlon Group (Arlon), an investment firm focused on food and agriculture, announced that Arlon Food and Agriculture Partners LP, in partnership with management and Edward Billington & Son (Billington), has acquired Wholesome Sweeteners. Wholesome Sweeteners is headquartered in Sugar Land, Texas and is the leading supplier of organic and Fair Trade certified sweeteners in North America. Nigel Willerton, CEO of Wholesome Sweeteners, will continue to lead the management team.
Wholesome Sweeteners was founded in 2001 as a joint venture between Imperial Sugar Company and Billington. Under the leadership of CEO Nigel Willerton, the company has grown to become the leading organic sweetener supplier in North America. Wholesome Sweeteners has a strong track record of innovation which includes new products for 2012 such as Organic Stevia, Organic Coconut Palm Sugar and the first Fair Trade Certified Organic Agave Nectars.
Arlon led the buyout of Wholesome Sweeteners alongside Billington, Wholesome Sweeteners’ management and several other investors. Arlon acquired part of Billington’s ownership interest and all of the shares owned by Imperial. Billington’s continued involvement, along with the retention and increased ownership stake of Wholesome’s management, guarantees continuity of the company’s consumer focused philosophy and entrepreneurial culture.
“This is an exciting time for Wholesome. Arlon’s focus on innovative food businesses makes them perfect partners for the next stage of our growth and development,” said Nigel Willerton, CEO of Wholesome Sweeteners.
“We see tremendous opportunities for continued growth at Wholesome Sweeteners, and we look forward to working with the company to realize this potential,” said Michelle Brooks, Managing Principal of Arlon Group. “Nigel and his team have built a remarkable company that has reached a position of market leadership by delivering the highest quality products and meeting the growing consumer demand for socially responsible and environmentally sustainable farming practices.”
Wholesome Sweeteners is the fourth investment for Arlon Food and Agriculture Partners LP, which provides long-term growth capital to middle-market companies across the food and agriculture value chain. The fund held its final closing in March 2012.
About Arlon Group
Arlon Group, based in New York, invests in middle market companies across all stages of the food and agriculture supply chain, including production, processing, distribution, food service and retail. It seeks to achieve attractive long-term returns by combining its well-developed investment process in the food and agriculture sectors with the strategic insight of an experienced industry participant. Arlon Group believes that its long-term perspective, food sector expertise, and commitment to partnering with management teams make it a strong partner to food businesses that are pursuing stable growth. For more information, visit www.arlongroup.com.
SOURCE Arlon Group