Mergers and Acquisitions

Auxo Investment Partners Acquires Andrie LLC

Private investment firm Auxo Investment Partners announced February 21 that it is acquiring Andrie LLC, a Michigan-based Jones Act bulk transporter of specialty products including liquid asphalt, cement, light oil petroleum products, and calcium chloride throughout the Great Lakes.

Greg Binion, chairman of Auxo Marine, a division of Auxo International Partners, was president and COO of Kirby Corporation from April 2011 to April 2013 and comes from a marine industry family. “I enjoy the marine business and the people who work in it,” he told The Waterways Journal. His dad and uncle worked in the industry and his cousin John Binion currently works with him at Auxo Marine.

Andrie, founded in 1988, is a shipping leader throughout the Great Lakes, working extensively with large global customers.  Since it was founded in 1988 by Barbara Andrie, mother of the current CEO, Andrie has grown its business, increasing its fleet of four vessels to 19, its cargo capacity from 12,000 tons to more than 125,000 tons and its workforce from 25 to 127. Asphalt makes up most of the company’s shipping volume, followed by cement, light oil products, and calcium chloride, all of which require special handling.

The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, marks Auxo’s sixth acquisition in 16 months. It was finalized in late December but is only being publicly disclosed now. On February 18, Binion and the Auxo investment team met in Chicago with Andrie employees in a three-day event. “About 80 percent of Andrie’s 127 employees were there,” said Binion. “It was a great opportunity to meet the men and woman who work on the water and build up the great value that this company has. It also gave them a chance to meet us. I was very impressed.” 

“This company has been a big part of my family since its earliest days, so deciding to bring in a new partner wasn’t a decision we took lightly,” said Stan Andrie Jr., who will remain as the company’s CEO. “I was struck by Auxo Investment Partners’ leadership, Midwest roots and strong ties to the marine industry as a result of its ownership of M/G Transport Services. Not only is this new partnership a cultural fit that will preserve the legacy of what we’ve accomplished, it’s one that will position us for strong growth in the years ahead.”

The acquisition builds on Auxo’s December 2017 acquisition of M/G Transport Services, a dry-bulk transportation and logistics company founded in 1968 and based in New Orleans. Counting Andrie and M/G Transport Services, Auxo has acquired six companies since its October 2016 founding. In addition to Auxo Marine, Auxo has developed a platform of industry-leading cutting die manufacturers, including Bernal Rotary Dies, Atlas Die, Atlas Chem Milling (ACM), and Midway Rotary Die Solutions. The investment firm also purchased Prestige Stamping Inc., a high-speed niche manufacturer of custom engineered stampings for the fastener industry.

Binion and his cousin John Binion will serve on Andrie’s new board, as they do for M/G Transport Services. Much of M/G’s business consists of transporting petroleum coke in the Baton-Rouge-to-New Orleans corridor, as well as west along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The two companies will operate under the newly created Auxo Marine platform. Binion said he looks for growth in the petcoke business, especially with the advent of the IMO’s 2020 emissions standards for marine vessels. The standards are sparking increased demand for diesel fuel, of which petcoke is a by-product.

“We are excited to have Andrie join M/G Transportation Services on the Auxo Marine platform,” said Greg Binion. “With a history spanning three decades of delivering safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation services to its customers, Andrie brings robust coastwise capabilities to Auxo Marine. … Andrie is the dominant player in a strong and growing market, much like M/G is in the dry-bulk space, and although the companies will operate separately, they’ll have a close and coordinated relationship, sharing best practices and potentially leveraging capabilities.  The addition of Andrie is a perfect fit with our strategy of adding industry-segment leaders to build out the Auxo Marine platform.”

“Delivering world-class performance transporting specialty products in the Great Lakes isn’t easy, but Andrie has done it with much success for three decades on behalf of demanding global enterprise customers,” said Auxo Managing Partner Jack Kolodny.

“The Andrie family has built a strong company, which is clear given its unrelenting focus on highly trained crews, company culture and unrivaled customer service,” said Auxo Managing Partner Jeff Helminski. “Additionally, Andrie will also work very well with the team at M/G Transport Services as we build out a broader platform for both companies.”

Binion said Auxo is interested in further acquisitions in the marine space. “We are definitely looking around for further opportunities that meet our investment criteria: companies that are well-positioned in their markets, have superior customer service and the reputations that come with it and long-term contracts with established major players in the industries they serve,” he said.

Auxo’s website says it is looking for North America-based manufacturing, industrial, value-added distribution or business services with cash flow between $1.5 and $15 million.