TorQuest puts Fund III to work

The firm has sealed its first investment from its C$535m Fund III.

Toronto-based TorQuest Partners has recapitalised Canadian manufacturing and distribution business Kissner Milling Company.
Kissner manufactures rock salt and ice melt products in Canada and the US Great Lakes region. The transaction marks TorQuest’s first investment from its Fund III, which closed on C$535 million (€389 million; $516 million) in September. The firm launched Fund III in 2011 with a C$550 million target and C$650 million hard-cap. 
Fund III will invest using the same strategy as TorQuest’s prior funds, backing mid-market companies in North America with enterprise values between C$40 million and C$250 million. TorQuest will invest primarily in Canada, making equity investments ranging in size from C$15 million to more than C$100 million. Limited partners in Fund III include the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and the Bank of Nova Scotia, according to Private Equity International’s Research and Analytics division. 
TorQuest recently sold powdered drink, teas and sweeteners company Associated Brands to TreeHouse Foods for C$187 million. The firm first invested in the company in 2005. In September, TorQuest sold refuelling services provider 4Refuel to Kelso & Company for an undisclosed sum.
Buyouts in Canada reached C$7.4 billion during the first nine months of 2013, representing a 3 percent drop compared to the same period last year, according to data from Canada’s Venture Capital and Private Equity Association and Thomson Reuters. Despite slower investment activity, fundraising in Canada has grown considerably year-over-year, with C$6.1 billion raised through the first three quarters, more than the total of C$4.8 billion raised in all of 2012 and the C$3.8 billion raised in 2011.
Founded in 2002, TorQuest is led by managing partners Brent Belzberg and Eric Berke. The firm has a portfolio of seven companies – six from its C$550 million Fund II – and more than C$1 billion under management.