Daily News: August 1, 2012

Huron’s Food Transportation Platform Completes Add-on Acquisition


Huron Capital Partners announced that its portfolio company, Cardinal Agri-Logistics, Inc. has acquired Charles G. Lawson Trucking, Inc. (Lawson), in partnership with Lawson’s management team. The investment was made through The Huron Fund III, and is the 59th investment Huron has completed through its three investment funds.

Huron formed Cardinal in 2009 to invest in the highly specialized, niche bulk liquid food-grade sector of the transportation and logistics industry. Cardinal’s first acquisition was Jacksonville, IL-based Landes Trucking, Inc., which serves grain processors throughout the Midwest. Lawson represents Cardinal’s second acquisition in this sector. Lawson is headquartered in Montgomery, AL and is a regional provider of specialty food transportation services to the Southeast U.S. with terminal operations in Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana. Lawson provides bulk liquid food-grade, refrigerated and dedicated van transportation services to a diverse set of food manufacturing customers. Lawson has the capability to transport a broad array of food products including soybean oil, yeast, vinegar, and a variety of other bulk and specialty food products. Lawson has been family-owned since its founding in 1976 and has grown to over 180 employees over the past 35 years.

Billy Rotton, president of Lawson, stated, “We see many similarities with Landes and Lawson – each company starting many years ago with one truck. We have both built our businesses one lane at a time by providing excellent customer service and focusing on each and every detail. We are excited to continue this tradition in partnership with Landes and Huron.”

Jim Mahoney, a partner at Huron, stated, “We believe the addition of Lawson to Cardinal brings critical mass, expands our geographic footprint, further diversifies our customer base, and broadens our service capabilities. We are excited to join forces with Lawson to increase our level of service to existing customers and pursue new markets. Lawson’s reputation for food safety, service, and on-time delivery made this a very attractive addition to our existing platform.”

Huron Capital is an operationally focused private equity firm investing in lower middle-market companies.