Quest Specialty Chemicals

Summary

Positioned the business into three strategic units and expanded into new markets and geographies through executing four acquisitions and investing in growth, making Quest a global leader in specialty coatings.

Background

Headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, Quest Specialty Chemicals (“Quest”) is a leader in specialty coatings manufacturing focused on the automotive aftermarket, non-residential construction, and industrial end-markets. Products include automotive aftermarket refinish coatings, putties, fillers and accessories, roofing and other construction coatings, and industrial aerosol and coatings. Owned previously by Huron Capital who formed Quest in 2003, Audax recognized the opportunity to scale the company and reposition its brands to accelerate organic and acquisitive growth while positioning the business for strategic acquirers.

Challenge

From 2003 to Audax’ investment in 2011, Quest had acquired several market leading brands in a variety of end markets, creating the opportunity to develop infrastructure and align the divisions’ strategies to accelerate growth. At the time of Audax’ investment, the company had four operating units, an opportunistic acquisition strategy, and a lack of a centralized leadership team. To accelerate growth and to fully capitalize on the leadership positions of its brands, Audax and management had to reposition the businesses and develop the strategy to drive the next phase of growth. Additionally, the business was not structured optimally to allow strategic acquirers to recognize the value of the platform.

Together, management and the Audax team sourced and integrated four acquisitions, expanding the company into new product lines and geographies.

The Audax Difference

Audax supported the Quest management team, repositioning the business through consolidating nine brands into three divisions. The rebranded organization created new go-to-market strategies promoting both organic growth and acquisition plans across each division. Audax’ supported augmenting the Quest leadership team, enabling the company’s transformation and expansion.

In early 2015, Quest Automotive Products and Quest Industrial Products divisions were sold to The Valspar Corporation (NYSE: VAL). In August 2015, Quest Construction Products, the remaining division of Quest, was sold to Building Materials Corporation of America (d/b/a/) GAF (“GAF”).


The Audax team was instrumental in providing the resources and support to expand the business through acquisitions and position us for a strategic exit.”

  • Doug Mattscheck CEO, Quest Specialty Chemicals

Doug and his management team did a terrific job working with us to build the company organically and through add-on acquisitions while developing the infrastructure and strategy to drive the organization forward. Through expanding into new geographies and product lines and repositioning our commercial approach, Quest became one of the leading independent coatings platforms with a global footprint.”

  • Don Bramley Managing Director, Audax Group