New firm targets Hispanic community

Former Goya Foods executive Andy Unanue has launched a firm targeting small and mid-market opportunities within the US Hispanic community.

The economic clout of the US’ growing Hispanic population has expanded rapidly in recent years, and private equity hasn’t been late to the party. 

Earlier this week, AUA Private Equity Partners was launched by former Goya Foods executive Andy Unanue. The firm will invest in family-owned and closely held private companies that concentrate on the US’s growing Hispanic population. 

The firm plans to invest between $10 million to $30 million in companies generating $3 million to $15 million EBITDA with a focus on leveraged buyouts, recapitalisations and growth equity injections. AUA will primarily target the consumer, media and business services sectors, Unanue told Private Equity International

“We’ve surrounded ourselves with the best operating team … a lot of family business expertise, a lot of Hispanic market expertise,” he said. “The size of the deals, the lower middle market, is where a lot of these deals are found … and can generate stellar returns for our LPs.”

It is unclear whether AUA plans on raising a private equity fund or if it will use capital from AU & Associates, a family office for the Unanue family. Unanue declined to discuss fundraising or marketing efforts. 

A number of private equity veterans will join Unanue at the firm. Steven Flyer and David Benyaminy, both founding partners, were previously with the CIBC’s leveraged finance and merchant banking group and helped establish Trimaran Capital Partners, according to the release. Another founding partner, Kyce Chihi, worked in Deutsche Bank’s leveraged finance group. 

AUA already holds stakes in a number of portfolio companies including Brighter Dental Care, Two-Twenty Records Management, eSchool Data, TRUFOODS and Opt-Intelligence. 

AUA isn’t the only firm targeting the US’s Hispanic population. Nexos Capital Partners and Palladium Equity Partners have both earned a reputation in the sector, and HCP & Company gained the backing of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System’s former emerging markets fund of funds Centinela Capital Partners for its $105 million second fund.