MORRISVILLE, Pa.—Growth can be quick, but sometimes, it takes patience.
That's one of the reasons that led Gelest Inc. President Barry Arkles to partner this year with New Mountain Capital, a private equity firm that currently manages approximately $15 billion in assets.
"The simplest way to put it is that New Mountain has made investments in life-science-based companies, and we had seen how they handled themselves in their partnerships," Arkles said. "It appeared they had a patient approach in the private equity area."
The partnership, announced in April, gives New Mountain a controlling interest in Gelest, and provides Gelest with capital for expansion and growth. While the total investment is undisclosed, "this is a significant investment for us," said Andre Moura, managing director at New Mountain.
New Mountain, which was founded in 2000, has been working in the specialty materials industry since about 2008, and first heard of Gelest through another invested company, NuSil Technologies, which also works in specialty silicone materials, Moura said.
"The NuSil management team always looked up to Gelest, and Dr. Barry Arkles … as just a very strong leader in the space," Moura said.
New Mountain began a dialogue with Arkles, and investment discussions really took off about last spring. At that point, they started talking about potential plans, including acquisitions, expanding sales and marketing resources, and working in new product areas "to drive a growth strategy," Moura said.
Gelest was an appealing choice for New Mountain, not just because of Arkles and his reputation in the industry, but its other experts as well, Moura said.