ACG Louisiana, a state chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth, named six winners of awards that recognize growth companies, business professionals and noteworthy corporate transactions in Louisiana.
Five are in New Orleans and one in Baton Rouge. They are Albemarle Corp. in Baton Rouge, deal of the year, and from New Orleans, Reily Foods Co., outstanding corporate growth; Republic Business Credit, emerging growth company; Benjamin D. Cappiello, emerging young leader; Daniel O. Conwill IV, dealmaker of the year; and Robert Merrick, lifetime achievement award.
ALBEMARLE CORP.: The specialty chemicals company acquired New Jersey-based Rockwood Holdings Inc. in a deal valued at about $6.2 billion. Rockwood produces the lithium and lithium compounds used in batteries for smartphones and hybrid and electric vehicles. The deal gives Albemarle market-leading positions across four high-margin businesses: lithium, catalysts, bromine and surface treatment.
REILY FOODS CO.: The company was founded in New Orleans in 1902 as a coffee-roasting, packaging and distribution company. It now manufactures and market brands such as Blue Plate mayonnaise, Luzianne tea, CDM Coffee & Chicory and French Market Coffee, La Martinique salad dressings, Wick Fowler’s and Carroll Shelby’s chili kits, and Swans Down Cake Flour.
Most recently, Reily Foods purchased New England Tea & Coffee Co. in Massachusetts, making Reily one of the largest independent coffee roasters in the country. Reily also makes private-label items for large grocery and restaurant customers.
REPUBLIC BUSINESS CREDIT: Republic is a commercial finance company in New Orleans with regional offices in Chicago and Houston. RBC specializes in secured working capital loans up to $5 million to lower- and middle-market businesses going through turnaround and growth phases. The company has financed more than $1.2 billion of working capital advances. In its first four years of operations, RBC has averaged over a 30 percent compound annual growth rate. The company is co-managed by Allen Frederic Jr., CEO, and Stewart Chesters.
BENJAMIN D. CAPPIELLO: He is the inventor and scientific founder of Bioceptive, a company developing medical devices for a variety of gynecological procedures. Cappiello devised the initial concept while a biomedical engineering student at Tulane University. The company recently received Federal Drug Administration clearance on its technology and received ISO 13485 certification that opens the door to a global launch of its products. Based in the New Orleans BioInnovation Center, Bioceptive has raised about $3 million in venture capital, angel, foundation and grant dollars to support its growth.
DANIEL O. CONWILL IV: On Dec. 31, 2013, Global Hunter Securities LLC combined its operations with Sea Port Group Securities LLC to form Seaport Global Securities LLC, a firm with about 300 employees in 21 offices across the country. Conwill heads the firm’s investment banking division, which participated in 44 transactions in 2014 raising almost $12 billion in capital for issuing companies. The firm also facilitated numerous mergers, acquisitions and corporate restructuring and provided advice in connection with corporate strategy and business development. Although many of the transactions involve non-Louisiana companies, the worldwide headquarters for the Seaport Global investment banking operations is in the New Orleans office.
ROBERT MERRICK: The lifetime achievement winner built his career on a foundation of commercial real estate. He bought Latter & Blum in 1986 and rapidly brought almost 40 real estate firms under the company’s wing. The company now operates 35 offices in Louisiana and Mississippi and has become the largest real estate business in the Gulf South and one of the largest in the country with a prediction of annual sales hitting $3 billion.
Merrick also has donated millions of dollars and many volunteer hours to dozens of nonprofit groups. The American Red Cross honored him as its Humanitarian of the Year in 2005 and, in 2012, named him to its Chairman’s Council, which recognizes donors whose cumulative giving to the organization exceeds $1 million. He also made a $1 million gift to the United Way of Southeast Louisiana, becoming the first person in the state to join an elite circle of million-dollar donors to United Way worldwide.
In December, the University of New Orleans awarded Merrick an honorary doctorate. He has chaired the UNO business school advisory board and UNO’s board of trustees and made substantial donations to various university programs.
Winners of the eighth annual ACG Louisiana Awards will be honored at an awards dinner on May 12 at the Roosevelt Hotel New Orleans. Information and tickets are available at www.acg.org/louisiana.