SAN FRANCISCO — Gryphon Investors, a middle-market private equity firm, announced Monday that it has acquired Wittichen Supply Company, a wholesale distributor providing heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC/R) equipment, parts, supplies, and customer service to residential and commercial customers in the Southeastern United States. This represents the second investment closed by Gryphon's Heritage Fund, a new small-cap fund offering launched by Gryphon in 2020. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Founded in 1914 and headquartered in Birmingham, AL, Wittichen provides parts, supplies, and customer service, distributing products from more than 500 leading HVAC/R manufacturers. With 25 locations, the Company is the industry leader in Alabama, and has a growing presence in the Florida panhandle as well as western Georgia. With a loyal technician customer base, the Company maintains long-standing relationships with leading HVAC/R manufacturers and vendors, including Rheem, Chemours, Fujitsu, Nu-Calgon, and Emerson Climate Technologies.
Keith Stimson, Deal Partner and Head of the Heritage Fund Team at Gryphon, said, "Our investment in Wittichen is testament to Gryphon's Heritage Fund strategy, which leverages Gryphon's sector initiative strategy and focuses on partnering with market leaders with sustainable differentiation. We expect to make future investments to develop a strong platform across the Sun Belt."
General Manager Charles Herring, who has been with Wittichen for 48 years, will become President of the Company, and will continue to work closely with the existing management team. Gryphon has also appointed several executive advisors with deep HVAC/R OEM manufacturing and industrial distribution experience to the Company's Board of Directors.
Craig Nikrant, Gryphon Operating Partner on the Heritage Fund Team, said, "Wittichen is a 100-year-old brand with a strong culture and exceptionally loyal employee and customer base. We look forward to partnering and supporting the Wittichen management team in their next phase of growth by leveraging Gryphon's in-house Operations Resource Group and Human Capital Team to enable further investment in its business and employees."
Mr. Herring commented, "We are excited to welcome and partner with the Gryphon team as we build on our recent growth and look to the future. We are experiencing steady demand for product repair, maintenance, and improvement, and we expect that demand to continue in a post COVID-19 environment that is driving greater need for high-quality, safe air filtration. We look forward to servicing our existing and new customers with the same great team, supported by the added resources provided by our new partner."
David Henderson, outgoing President of Wittichen, added, "My goal is to leave the Company, our employees, customers, and suppliers in the best hands, and I feel confident that we have found the best partner in Gryphon. Our business has been built on providing a premium service and customer experience and that will not change. Gryphon's financial resources and operational know-how will be invaluable as Wittichen builds on its geographic expansion and continues to look for the most innovative ways to serve our loyal customers."
Gryphon was advised by legal counsel Kirkland & Ellis and financial advisor Lincoln International. Uplift Partners served as the exclusive financial advisor to Wittichen Supply Company, and Maynard Cooper Gale served as legal counsel.