May River Capital, a Chicago-based private equity firm focused on lower middle market industrial growth companies, has acquired Cablevey Conveyors, a global manufacturer of tubular-drag conveyor systems based in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Cablevey manufactures enclosed conveyance systems and has installations in more than 65 countries. The company’s technology is known for food-safe, efficient and low-energy consumption performance for demanding applications in the material handling sector.

“Cablevey’s focus on solving conveyance application challenges using our proprietary cable drag technology, and the resulting dramatic growth has positioned the company as an anchor asset to build a larger conveyance platform,” says Cablevey CEO Gary Hall. “The additional investments now possible with May River allow us to continue to increase market share with existing and top tier customers in our core food and beverage sectors, including tree nuts, coffee and pet food, as well as expand in other growth markets like pharmaceuticals.”

“Gary and I could not be happier for the employees, the Oskaloosa, Iowa, community and customers of Cablevey, and we are thrilled to partner with the May River team,” says Cablevey President Phil Hall. “We look forward to further building upon Cablevey’s 50-plus year history of developing and bringing new product innovations to market, such as our new 8-inch drag conveyance system that adds tremendous value to those who rely on Cablevey to deliver clean, fast and cost-effective conveying solutions.”

“It’s truly a privilege and opportunity to lead a business like Cablevey and the dedicated Cablevey team,” says Brad Sterner, who succeeds Gary Hall as Cablevey CEO. “Gary, Phil and I are looking forward to working through the transition as we collectively turn our attention to the next phase of the company’s growth.” Sterner will continue as executive chairman of advanced material processing (AMP), a May River “sister” platform specializing in material processing equipment for regulated end markets. This “sister” relationship will offer potential synergies with Cablevey that include many shared customers in the food, pharmaceutical and chemical end-markets.

“We are excited about the specialty conveyance sector and attractive high growth end markets served by Cablevey and the highly complementary AMP process equipment platform,” explains May River Partner Steve Griesemer. “As the handling and process industries continue to expand, leading end users in the food and beverage, pharmaceutical and chemical verticals seek to align with innovative partners that can be counted upon to deliver market-leading solutions. Cablevey will serve as a strong foundation within the material handling segment for delivering high-impact solutions to these global, blue-chip customers.”

Hall says the timing of the announcement is meaningful, as the acquisition closed on December 22, 2021, the exact date of the company’s 50th anniversary.

“Achieving such a significant milestone serves as a reminder of our commitment to our employees, customers and community,” says Hall. “In fact, Cablevey will continue to operate in Oskaloosa and contribute to our local Mahaska County economy as we have every day for the past 50 years.”

Winston & Strawn served as legal counsel to May River. NCP Inc. served as financial advisor and Belin McCormick served as legal counsel to Cablevey Conveyors and its shareholders.