Lariat sells portfolio feed company subsidiary

Westfeeds, a subsidiary of Lariat Partners portfolio company Northern Agri Holdings, has been acquired by Alltech-subsidiary Ridley USA.

Lower-mid-market private equity firm Lariat Partners announced Wednesday it sold animal feed and nutritional product supplier WestFeeds to Ridley USA for an undisclosed sum.

Founded in 1973, Westfeeds was a subsidiary of Lariat-backed Northern Agri Holdings, which manufactures and distributes animal feed and nutritional products for cattle, equine, poultry, sheep, swine, goats and companion animals. The company’s offerings include distinct products designed to add protein to feed, assist in the digestion of low-quality forages and add energy supplements to encourage grazing, among others.

Based in Billings, Montana, Westfeeds operates three manufacturing facilities in that state and distributes animal nutrition products through an exclusive dealer network spread throughout Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.

“Westfeeds has a long-history of focus on top-quality nutrition and dedication to western livestock producers,” Lariat managing partner Kevin Mitchell said in the statement. “The transaction will allow Ridley to capitalize on Westfeeds’ strong reputation for providing high-quality animal nutrition products.”

Mitchell added that Northern Agri Holdings will continue to focus on its certified seed and forage crop genetics business. The unit includes certified seed and seed-service provider Northern Seed and Northern Agri Brands, which develops forage crop seed genetics.

In October 2015, Lariat acquired a business unit of Syngenta focused on the production of triticale, a cross-breed of rye and wheat used in the production of forage, feed and biofuels. The following May, Lariat acquired a stake in crop protection products company Willowood USA, which manufactures herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and plant growth regulators.

Ridley is a subsidiary of Lexington, Kentucky-based, plant, animal and human nutrition company Alltech. Ridley has three distinct units: feed supplements, loose minerals and dried molasses supplier Ridley Block Operations; Ridley Feed Ingredients, which provides vitamin and trace mineral premixes and feed additives; and Hubbard Feeds, its core feed business.

An Alltech representative told Agri Investor that Westfeeds will be integrated into Hubbard Feeds. The representative added that the acquisition was motivated in part by a desire to complement Hubbard’s presence in the Midwest with Westfeeds’ established place among customers on the US west coast.

Lariat is a Denver-based lower mid-market private equity firm specializing in investments into the agriculture, energy and environmental services sectors. In July 2014, the firm closed its first fund, Lariat Partners Fund I, on $118 million.