H.I.G. hires former Paine Schwartz partner

Andrew Freeman has joined H.I.G. Middle Market’s San Francisco office to make investments in the food and agribusiness sectors from the firm’s $1.75bn fund.

H.I.G. Middle Market announced Tuesday that it has hired former Paine Schwartz Partners partner Andrew Freeman as a managing director.

Freeman left Paine Schwartz in December and started working from H.I.G.’s San Francisco office on March 15.

Freeman told Agri Investor that at H.I.G. he will be focused exclusively on North America and investing in companies with enterprise values between $200 million and $2 billion. The investments will come from H.I.G.’s Middle Market LBO Fund II, which closed on $1.75 billion in 2014, he said.

Freeman’s responsibilities will include sourcing, structuring, financing and post-investment strategy and execution. He said he plans to cast a wide net throughout the agribusiness supply chain, actively looking for upstream investment opportunities with services and supply networks serving niche crop growers, as well as midstream and downstream opportunities, including those in the processing sector.

“Food and agribusiness mirrors the general landscape at large. There’s been increasing competition in private equity, and private equity is blanketing industries,” he said.

Freeman joined Paine Schwartz (formerly Paine & Partners) out of the firm’s San Francisco offices in 2005, as a director, and was promoted to partner in 2010. He held previous roles at Fremont Partners and Westbrook Partners.

H.I.G. Middle Market is an affiliate of H.I.G. Capital, a private equity firm with $21 billion in equity capital under management. The unit works together with other H.I.G. funds from offices in New York, Miami and San Francisco and pursues recapitalizations, private sales, corporate divestitures, and public to private transactions involving businesses with EBITDA typically between $35 million and $200 million.

H.I.G. Capital’s food-related investments currently include Ready Pac Produce, Southern Quality Meats and Albertville Quality Foods, a poultry processor. Earlier this month, the company sold Canadian ice cube producer Arctic Glacier to the Carlyle Group for an undisclosed price, which Moody’s revealed to be $723 million.