Ara Partners, a private equity firm that specializes in industrial decarbonization investments, today announced that it has acquired Genera Energy Inc, a manufacturer of non-wood agricultural pulp and molded fiber products. Ara has also committed up to an additional $200 million of capital to support significant expansion of the company's sustainable pulp and packaging business.
Genera's Vonore, Tennessee production facility is the largest vertically integrated non-wood agricultural pulp and molded fiber manufacturing facility operating in North America today, supplying customers with domestically sourced and manufactured non-wood pulp and molded fiber products. Proceeds from Ara's investment will be used to develop additional integrated manufacturing facilities and expand molded fiber production capacity in Vonore, enabling production of more than 5,000,000 take out containers, plates, bowls, and other food and consumer packaging products every day, all made entirely from locally grown fiber crops and agricultural residues.
Together, Ara and the Genera management team will expand the company's production footprint across the U.S. to address the growing demand for domestically sourced sustainable packaging. By partnering with American farmers to supply purpose-grown agricultural fibers, Genera creates economic opportunities for rural communities from conservation use of land while providing an environmentally superior, biodegradable, and compostable solution to the growing global plastic pollution problem. Genera is poised to capitalize on explosive growth in the sustainable packaging market, benefiting from structural tailwinds, including onshoring of supply chains, and companies and consumers seeking sustainable alternatives to plastics.
The Genera management team is comprised of experienced managers and technical operators with deep domain expertise in agricultural biomass supply chains. Genera is well positioned to serve the fast growing, nascent industry with its established feedstock relationships and offtake commitments with marquee customers.
"There is an urgent need for solutions to the mounting global single-use plastics pollution problem that is driving insatiable demand for domestically sourced molded fiber products," said Kelly Tiller, Genera's CEO. "We are proud to partner with Ara and appreciate their passionate support of our mission and their wealth of experience in scaling manufacturing operations and building sustainable businesses."
"The Genera team has the operational experience, strategic relationships, and drive to build the leading sustainable packaging platform in North America," said Troy Thacker, Managing Partner at Ara Partners. "We have been incredibly impressed with the team's depth of knowledge in biomass and molded fiber, as well as the immense customer interest it has garnered across foodservice, consumer packaging and medical applications. We are thrilled to partner with Kelly and her team to drive this next phase of growth."
Genera's previous owners – WindSail Capital Group, Coppermine Capital and Stairway Capital – will retain a minority interest in the company.
Ian Bowles, Managing Director of WindSail Capital Group, said, "We and our co-investors are pleased that Ara Partners will be driving Genera forward with the capital and expertise to unlock the game-changing potential of agricultural fiber packaging."