Matrix Capital Markets advised Van Unen/Miersma Propane (VMP), in some markets as d/b/a Sierra Propane, and its affiliate Windmill Propane on its sale to Energy Distribution Partners (EDP), a propane marketer.

Van Unen/Miersma Propane was founded in 1993 by Rick Van Unen, Marion Miersma and Jeff Van Groningen. Van Unen and Miersma had previously owned a propane business (M&M Propane) located in Southern California, which they sold to Petrolane Partners in 1987. Following the sale, Van Unen relocated to Ripon, CA, to work for Petrolane as a regional sales manager, and Miersma started a bollard production business, also in Ripon, CA. At the end of 1992, the two re-entered the propane industry and asked Van Groningen to join them in their new venture: Van Unen/Miersma Propane.

In 2000, the company acquired Sierra Propane, a small, independent propane distributor, which was adjacent to VMP’s marketing territory. The founders continued to grow VMP and Sierra Propane through the early 2000s, and in 2006 decided it was time to expand further south within the Central Valley of California. At that time, Hurts Propane had just ceased operations, and Van Unen, Miersma and Van Groningen made the decision to pursue the acquisition of its customer base and other fixed assets. The founders incorporated Windmill Propane, acquired Hurts Propane and took on servicing its existing, new and previous customer accounts while growing all operating markets for the company over the past two decades.

Matrix provided merger and acquisition advisory services to the company, which included valuation advisory, marketing the business through a structured sale process and the negotiation of the sale. The transaction was managed by Spencer Cavalier, co-head of Matrix’s downstream energy and convenience retail investment banking group; Sean Dooley, managing director; and Nate Wah, associate.

“It would not be possible to overstate the value of the fine folks at Matrix in guiding us through this complex process and advising us on the sale of our company,” Van Unen said. “I would highly recommend Matrix to anyone thinking about selling their business.”

“The expertise that Matrix provided in assisting our company through this process was invaluable,” Van Groningen said. “We relied heavily on their experience to attract a high-quality prospective buyer that would align with our company’s core values of world class employee engagement and customer service while maintaining a strong commitment to safety.”

“We are honored to have advised the shareholders among the three families on the sale of VMP and Windmill Propane,” Dooley said. “Over the last decade, Rick, Marion and Jeff were very instrumental in transforming the existing business to a truly best-in-class propane distribution operation. They built one of the most successful propane distribution companies we have advised to date, and it was a pleasure working with them on this transaction. We wish Jeanne (Miersma), Rick and Jeff all the best in their future endeavors.”

“We are extremely pleased that the owners of VMP and Windmill Propane chose EDP when it came time to transition their companies,” Tom Knauff, CEO of Energy Distribution Partners, said. “We appreciated the opportunity to work with the Matrix team on this transaction and welcome these respected propane retailers to our family of companies.”

Tammera Diehm, Noreen Sedgeman and Michelle Fitch of Winthrop & Weinstine served as legal counsel for VMP and Windmill Propane.