AEA Investors



Within the Value-Added Industrials sector, we have developed an expertise in Specialty Chemicals subsector. Over the past 20 years, the chemicals industry has gone through a significant restructuring, which has led to a deep pool of attractive acquisition candidates for private equity. This restructuring has been driven by the break-up of large integrated chemical and life sciences conglomerates into more focused businesses, as well as the consolidation of fragmented industries to improve costs or better serve a more demanding and globalizing customer base. As with Value-Added Industrials, we look for Specialty Chemicals companies with strong, defensible technologies, market-leadership, strong customer relationships and the ability to grow through both acquisitions and organic investment. While the chemicals industry has seen moderate growth over the past couple decades, the North American sector is entering a new phase of revenue and profit growth due to the abundance of cheap feedstocks driven by abundant shale gas.

In the Specialty Chemicals subsector, we generally invest in well-positioned, well-managed businesses that serve diverse and growing end markets with a differentiated value proposition. Of particular interest are those opportunities that participate in fragmented industries which could be used as platforms to further consolidate an attractive segment. Past examples have included targets serving the flavors and fragrances, personal care, metalworking fluids and the adhesives and sealants industries. In addition, we work with well-positioned companies that are seeking strategic transformation from a non-core division of a larger company or a family-owned business. Frequently, we see an opportunity to shift the focus from growing assets and market share to profitable, focused growth and improved working capital and overall capital efficiency. Through the significant investment experience of our Partners and Operating Partners, global footprint and networks, we believe we can be value added thought partners to our management teams. We are oriented towards growth so we often support our chemical investments in making significant acquisitions to enhance core segments and consolidate industries, by investing in new technologies and by expanding geographic reach.

Representative Specialty Chemicals Investments:

  • Specialty Chemicals

    Symrise AG

  • Specialty Chemicals

    Sovereign Specialty Chemicals

  • Specialty Chemicals


  • Specialty Chemicals

    Houghton International