Daily News: March 4, 2014

GE Capital, Others Provide Financing for Norwest Equity Buy

Norwest Equity said it bought Apothecary Products, a step by the Minneapolis-based private equity firm to expand its consumer healthcare portfolio. Norwest Equity, the middle-market investment arm of Wells Fargo & Co., said Apothecary had hundreds of patents and sells to independent and chain pharmacies, mass retailers and distributors and wholesalers around the world.

Additional financing for the acquisition was provided by GE Capital, BMO Capital Markets, Golub Capital and Norwest Mezzanine Partners.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Norwest Equity bought Apothecary from its founder and CEO Terry Noble, a pharmacist who started the company in 1975. Noble invented the Reconstitube, a device for diluting antibiotics, according to the company’s website. Noble said he will remain as an Apothecary investor and that Norwest Equity’s investment capital and experience with consumer healthcare products will help Apothecary continue to grow and innovate.

Apothecary President Ron Barg said he doesn’t expect the new ownership to make significant operational changes. “I would anticipate, at least in the near term, maybe a 5% increase in employment,” he said.

Apothecary has a plant in St. Charles, MI, and a joint venture partnership near Hong Kong that handles a “significant amount” of its global manufacturing, Barg said. Apothecary has nearly 90% market share in plastic pill boxes, he said. “The baby boomers are a big part of our customer base,” said Barg. “There’s a big trend out in the industry yet that people don’t take their medications on an on-time basis.”

Burnsville, MN-based Apothecary Products makes and distributes pharmacy supplies and consumer healthcare products such as prescription bottles and pill-cutting trays. The company employs about 250 people and has annual sales of about $90 million.