Wilbur-Ellis, a leading international marketer and distributor of agricultural products, animal nutrients, and specialty chemicals and ingredients, today announced the acquisition of Nachurs Alpine Solutions (NAS), a specialty liquid chemical manufacturer serving the precision agriculture, transportation, energy, and diversified industrial sectors in North America. NAS is the largest acquisition in Wilbur-Ellis' history, which is consistent with the company's commitment to reinvest in the business.
Formed in 1946, NAS pioneered precision-placed liquid fertilizer, formulated to meet the nutritional needs of crops and growing conditions in the U.S. and Canada. Over the past 20 years, NAS has organized into six business units and diversified, providing de-icing and freeze prevention solutions for the transportation and mining industries, as well as fluids for the energy sector.
As part of Wilbur-Ellis, NAS will operate as a new business division, alongside the company's other core businesses – Agribusiness, Nutrition and Connell. NAS will be led by its current President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Barnes, who will report to Wilbur-Ellis President and Chief Executive Officer John Buckley. NAS' products will continue to be sold under its signature brands, including Nachurs and Alpine liquid fertilizers in the U.S. and Canada, and Nachurs Alpine Solutions Industrial (NASi) products in the transportation, mining, energy, and industrial chemicals markets.
NAS' brands are supported by more than 200 highly skilled employees, seven strategically located manufacturing plants, and 85-plus distribution terminals in the U.S. and Canada. Its manufacturing facilities are equipped with leading-edge, automated technology, enabling NAS to manufacture products with exact precision. To ensure quality and consistency, NAS utilizes rigorous quality control measures and repeated laboratory testing throughout the manufacturing process.
"NAS is a great strategic fit for Wilbur-Ellis," said Wilbur-Ellis' Buckley. "It supports our One Wilbur-Ellis strategy, which promotes collaboration and leveraging our resources, experiences and knowledge across our businesses to add value and better serve customers."
For example, as an industry leader in precision agriculture, NAS has built strong brands and long-term relationships with customers and suppliers. This creates value and supports Wilbur-Ellis' Agribusiness division, a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution and marketing of crop protection, seed and nutritional products.
The acquisition also enables Wilbur-Ellis to enter new markets and expand its specialty chemicals presence in North America. NAS' de-icing and freeze prevention products are new for Wilbur-Ellis, while NAS' involvement in the energy industry fits nicely with Wilbur-Ellis' role as a provider of specialty materials for oil and natural gas applications. These products are sold through Wilbur-Ellis' Connell business, which is best known as a leading marketer and distributor of specialty chemicals and ingredients in Asia-Pacific, where it has operated for over 120 years. Wilbur-Ellis also sees collaboration opportunities for NAS and its Nutrition division, an industry leader in the international marketing and distribution of nutrients for the livestock, pet food and aquaculture industries.
Market-driven innovation is another critical capability, Buckley said.
"NAS has demonstrated an extraordinary ability to innovate. Over the past five years, the company has launched over 50 new products, which has provided greater stability in changing markets and contributed significantly to their product portfolio."
Along with developing an impressive number of new products, NAS supports Wilbur-Ellis' history of innovation by providing technical assistance to customers, working with outside partners to surface the best ideas, and maintaining a strong focus on environmental sustainability.
For example, in its liquid fertilizer business, NAS was one of the first companies to adopt the 4R Nutrient Stewardship philosophy, which promotes the right product being applied at the right rate in the right place at the right time. This approach increases product effectiveness and efficiency, allowing growers to increase yields while using less fertilizer and reducing the environmental impact of their operations.
"At NAS, our business is built on quality, integrity and innovation," said NAS' Barnes. "So, we're proud to be joining Wilbur-Ellis, a company that supports those values, has an unwavering commitment to safety, and is dedicated to serving customers."
Buckley concluded, "Wilbur-Ellis and NAS share the same priorities. Both companies are absolutely committed to safety, and in everything we do we're working to deliver value for our customers. Increasingly, that means innovating and partnering with customers to improve their productivity and profitability, while at the same time helping them reduce their environmental footprint.
"That's good for customers, and it's a business advantage for Wilbur-Ellis because we have the people, infrastructure and capabilities to deliver effective, sustainable solutions. Now, with NAS onboard, the value we can add and the customers we serve have significantly increased."
In connection with the transaction, BMO Capital Markets Corp. acted as financial advisor for Nachurs Alpine Solutions and Rabobank acted as financial advisor for Wilbur-Ellis.