There's a lot going on in this industry: many layers, many players and many opportunities. - Tim Phillips

"Catterton has been a wonderful financial and business thought partner for us," says Deborah Ellinger, president of Old Mother Hubbard. She goes on to say, "It has enabled us to make the investments, which were needed over the past few years, to fuel our growth and to fulfill our mission of providing uncompromising nutrition for pets. We couldn't have made all of the changes we have made without their backing and strong marketing orientation. Wonderful people, too!"

Who are they?

While working on the Old Mother Hubbard profile (p. 18) in this issue, I first learned about Catterton Partners. I was curious, so I checked their website (www.cattertonpartners.com). I learned Catterton is a large private equity company that focuses on the "middle market consumer" that is driven by four primary elements:

  1. The market is large and attractive at US$7.9 trillion, the consumer segment in the US has demonstrated long-term revenue growth.
  2. The consumer industry has significant growth potential; attractive investment opportunities in the consumer sector are being driven by numerous factors.
  3. The consumer industry leverages its knowledge base.
  4. There is a proven track record of success in this arena.

Investment criteria

The Catterton website notes that companies that meet its investment criteria share a number of common features:

  • A concept with substantial, identifiable consumer demand that can be effectively replicated in multiple markets;
  • A unique and leverageable brand asset or capability that differentiates the company from its competition;
  • Attractive business model economics, addressing a specific customer need and demonstrating the operational capabilities to achieve market leadership;
  • Strong management in place with a proven ability to execute a clearly defined strategic business plan;
  • A strong, focused and customer-oriented culture;
  • Significant growth or growth potential and an expansion strategy that is consistent with the company's performance history; and
  • A defensible and extendable position in a growing industry category.

What I learned

According to its website, Catterton is able to add value to each investment through: strategic planning; recruiting key members of management; fostering growth; enhancing operating performance; identifying and executing synergistic mergers and acquisitions; and realizing equity value.

It is clear there's a lot going on in this industry: many layers, many players and many opportunities. It's a great time to be in the petfood industry!

Corrections

Authors of a palatability article in our December issue prefer the title "Effects of phosphoric acid on cat kibble palatability." They also emphasize that phosphoric acid can enhance palatability when used with a liquid palatability enhancer (PE) alone, but will significantly decrease palatability when a powdered PE is used. So, it is important to spray phosphoric acid as far from the dry PE application as possible in the coating sequence, and before the fat is applied.

In our January issue, in the article "Industry leaders talk," Angele Thompson's first name was misspelled and her location was wrong. Her contact information is: Thompson PetTech, 45 Laurel Dr., New Providence, NJ 07974, Tel: 1.908.898.0055, E-mail: tpettec@cs.com.