PLZ Aeroscience

Expanding an Uncanny Expert Into the Leading Solution Provider

In 2005, AEA’s Small Business Private Equity (“SBPE”) fund invested in PLZ Aeroscience Corporation (“PLZ”), a founder-led short-run, aerosol manufacturer for both the institutional and consumer markets. The company develops the majority of aerosol formulations for its customers in-house, with over several thousand different formulations created since inception.

AEA SBPE identified PLZ as an emerging market leader by virtue of its superior formulating capability and production efficiency, which enabled the business to grow its market share over its 30-year history while maintaining substantially superior margins. The AEA SBPE team worked closely with management to prioritize growth opportunities, including strategic acquisitions, a greenfield plant and branded product expansion. Notably, management successfully accelerated retail sales and new distribution wins at Walmart, Target and Safeway under AEA SBPE ownership. AEA SBPE also supported PLZ’s acquisition of Claire-Sprayway, another leading producer of aerosol products, which doubled the size of the business and led to significant cost synergies. PLZ made three further acquisitions and opened a greenfield plant in the middle of the recession to double its capacity.

PLZ transformed from an exceptional niche player to the outright leader in the short-run aerosol market.

Created Value


Acquisitions completed to expand product footprint and add sales channels and brands


Doubled manufacturing capacity via greenfield plant buildout to support larger business


Retail sales channel revenue growth


AEA participants board members provided strategic thought leadership

Photo of John Ferring

“I partnered with AEA SBF to take advantage of a market fragmentation that had high manufacturing costs and a generational turnover. PLZ believed we could leverage our low cost position and AEA SBF’s experience and resources to build a substantial market leader.”

John Ferring
Chief Executive Officer, PLZ Aeroscience