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EOM Stories

Safe Handling, Inc. Acquired By Savage Services Corporation

Overview

Headquartered in Auburn, ME, Safe Handling provides supply chain value enhancement for suppliers and users of bulk products through its integrated service offering of chemical toll processing, last-mile transportation, warehousing, and rail transloading services. Its locations in Auburn, ME and New Stanton, PA, meet the needs of global bulk commodity suppliers and manufacturing customers who produce coated paper, specialty packaging, food, and chemical products.

Bigelow Assignment

Obtain the best next majority shareholder for the Company, facilitating the Founder/Owner-Manager’s desire to transition his ownership and management leadership role; and position the Company to meet the growing need for Safe Handling’s unique blend of integrated services to customers in other geographic regions of the U.S.

Challenges

Seeking the best fit investor would be challenging given that no other operating company in the country defined its business model remotely close to Safe Handling’s fully integrated service offering. Further, the universe represented by financial or private equity investors had become more enamored with asset light logistics firms, and tended to shy away from those perceived as capital intensive.

Adding to this complexity, the owner was committed to a rapid transition of management succession, and while the management team had functional expertise, there was no incumbent leader among them to become the next in command.

“I can’t imagine being served at a higher level at a bigger firm. Bigelow engaged with all the right people and were great dealing with my family and employees. I didn’t expect to have trust be such a hallmark of our relationship. The people at Savage kept saying to me, ‘Bigelow is really looking out for you!’” Ford S. Reiche, Owner & President Safe Handling, Inc.
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Outcome

Safe Handling Inc. was acquired by Savage Services Corporation, a privately-held holding company headquartered in Salt Lake City, UT, with a 63-year tradition of family ownership and leadership in providing specialized, customer-tailored transloading and materials management services. With 140 operations in 35 U.S. States and 5 Canadian Provinces, Savage was attracted to Safe Handling in order to obtain a physical presence in the State of Maine and the greater Northeast, and further leverage its customer relationships throughout the U.S. who could utilize Safe Handling’s unique combination of services. Savage saw great value in Safe Handling’s methodology of providing value to both ends of the supply chain through outsourcing of non-strategic transportation and further processing requirements.

Given its management depth and inherent understanding of the business, Savage was able to afford Safe Handling’s Owner-Manager an immediate exit upon closing the transaction. Extensive due diligence by Savage confirmed their keen interest in retaining all other key managers, who themselves were grateful for the orderly transition to new ownership and opportunities for personal career growth.

Financially, Safe Handling’s Owner-Manager exceeded all of his goals upon exit, by obtaining full value from a qualified and compelling Strategic Investor in Savage Services Corporation.