Altas Partners seals debut investment

The Toronto-based firm acquired industrial mineral products company NSC Minerals, Altas’s first investment since being founded last year by former Onex managing director Andrew Sheiner.

Altas Partners acquired Saskatchewan-based NSC Minerals from US mid-market firm Wynnchurch Capital for an undisclosed sum.

The deal marks Toronto-based Altas’s debut investment since its founding last year by former Onex managing director Andrew Sheiner. NSC provides salt for highway de-icing, industrial and agricultural applications. The company’s customers include municipal and state governments in Canada and the US. 

Sheiner declined to disclose whether Altas is investing from a fund or on a deal-by-deal basis, citing confidentiality with the firm’s partners.

Altas focuses on North American mid-market companies and will make equity investments between $75 million and $500 million. The firm’s strategy differs from other private equity firms by investing in companies with “more stable cash flow characteristics” and by holding them for longer than the typical five years, Sheiner told Private Equity International in a previous interview. 

“We’re looking for high quality operating businesses that one might contemplate owning for a longer period than is usual for traditional opportunistic private equity … which means holding businesses for 15 years if it makes sense,” Sheiner said at the time.

Altas will also employ a different fee structure than typical private equity funds and more conservative capital structures. 

The Altas team includes operating partner Chris McElhone, a former Onex executive and director of business development at Husky Injection Molding Systems, one of Onex’s portfolio companies; chief operating officer and managing partner Andrew Dunn, a former vice chair at Deloitte who led the firm’s involvement with Canadian-based private equity funds; and director Prabh Chandoke, who joined the firm from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in Menlo Park, California, where he focused on the infrastructure and technology sectors.

In February, Altas also hired Scott Werry, a former senior associate at Providence Equity Partners.