Canada’s TorQuest finds acidifier market sweet

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis

- Last updated on GMT

The expanding market for and role of antibiotic alternatives in feed and use of acidic additives prompted TorQuest’s purchase of Bartek Ingredients.

The Canada-based private equity funds manager announced that it was acquiring Bartek Ingredients Inc. last week.

Financial details of the arrangement were not disclosed.

TorQuest Partners currently manages more than C$2bn in equity capital and has a focus on investing in middle market companies, according to company information. Bartek Ingredients is the fund’s sixth chemical platform.

Bartek Ingredients is a producer of specialty chemical additives for the feed, food and beverage markets, TorQuest said. The product line included malic acid, fumaric​ acid and maleic anhydride. The Ontario-based manufacturer distributed to more than 35 countries globally.

The feed and food additives that Bartek manufactured were part of what made the company interesting, said Matt Chapman, partner at TorQuest.

“Malic and fumaric acids are widely used in both the food and beverage and animal nutrition end markets, which TorQuest views as attractive and growing,”​ he told FeedNavigator. “We believe malic and fumaric acid use in the animal nutrition market specifically is still in the early innings, and we see a lot of growth for Bartek.”

“We intend to support Bartek by investing to grow its commercial team as well as production capacity to support this growth,”​ he added.

The expanding market for feed additives

Bartek is considered a “global leader”​ in the manufacturing and sales of additives including malic acid and fumaric acid, reported TorQuest. The company has been one TorQuest has followed for several years.

In addition to being used to improve flavor profiles and product safety, the additives Bartek produces can be used to provide nutritional benefits and potentially reduce the use of antibiotics in animal feed formulations, the company said.

Fumaric acid use has been linked to weight gain, feed intake and an improved feed conversion ratio in piglets during the post-weaning period, Bartek added.

The acquisition and the backing it brings from TorQuest is anticipated to allow Bartek to invest in its commercial team and production facilities, said John Burrows, incoming CEO of Bartek. Both investments are expected to help Bartek continue or improve how it serves its customers.

“We believe the use of malic and fumaric acids in the animal nutrition market will grow as the market continues to move away from antibiotics and as the advantages of malic and fumaric acids become more widely known,” ​he told us.

The intended increase in Bartek’s commercial team and recent expansion in production capacity are expected to support additional growth globally for the producer, Burrows said in a release. There is expanding interest in malic acid and the producer is positioned to take advantage of the growth opportunity.

Additionally, Bartek is vertically integrated and able to supply its malic and fumaric acid production facilities with internally generated maleic anhydride – a “versatile intermediary chemical,”​ TorQuest stated.

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