Advent International and Wilbur-Ellis announce the merger of their life sciences and specialty chemicals solutions businesses to form a leading global value-add distribution platform with unique positions in high-growth regions and combined sales of around EUR 3 billion

Pictured from left to right as they sign a definitive agreement to form a partnership between Connell and Caldic are: John Buckley, President and CEO of Wilbur-Ellis, Ronald Ayles, Managing Partner for Advent International (owner of Caldic), and John Thacher, Executive Chairman of Wilbur-Ellis

Rotterdam, 14 October, 2022/San Francisco, October 13, 2022 – Advent International (“Advent”), one of the largest and most experienced global private equity investors with a well-established track record in chemicals, and Wilbur-Ellis, one of the largest family-owned companies in the world, today announced that they have reached an agreement to merge their life sciences and specialty chemicals solutions businesses, Caldic B.V. (“Caldic”) and Connell, to create a global leader in its sector.

Caldic, a global provider of specialty ingredients and chemicals for the life sciences and industrial formulation markets with a major presence in Europe, North America and Latin America, will benefit by increasing its global presence through a merger with Connell, which is one of the major players in Asia-Pacific.

Under the ownership of Advent and Wilbur-Ellis, the combined company will benefit from two strong shareholders committed to build a leading global platform offering thorough expertise in specialty ingredients and chemicals solutions and distribution in two high-growth regions: in Asia-Pacific with Connell and in Latin America with Caldic-GTM, following Caldic’s merger with GTM in March 2022. By extending Caldic and Connell’s global footprint, the merger will accelerate growth opportunities for both principals and customers and drive further investments into people, technical labs, and sites. Together, Caldic and Connell will have more than 3,800 employees across 43 countries, which provide solutions to over 35,000 customers by leveraging 75 formulation centers and application labs and deep application know-how. The combination will generate sales of about EUR 3 billion.

Ronald Ayles, Managing Partner at Advent International, said: “By bringing together the highly complementary businesses of Caldic and Connell, we will form a truly global business with significant exposure to high-growth regions and very diversified end markets with a high value-add offering. In Wilbur-Ellis, we have found a committed partner who shares our long-term vision of building a fully integrated growth and innovation focused business. We look forward to working together with Wilbur-Ellis and the management teams of both Caldic and Connell in this exciting new chapter which brings synergistic business development opportunities for principals and customers alike.”

John Buckley, Wilbur-Ellis President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “We couldn’t be more excited about the partnership between Connell and Caldic. With Caldic’s strong global position, and Connell’s 125-year presence in Asia-Pacific, the partnership will immediately establish a global, privately-held specialty chemicals and ingredients distribution leader. The combined organization will provide a broad range of solutions for customers.”

In recent years, Caldic has stood out as a rapidly growing, innovation-driven player. The company continuously invests into value-add capabilities and has established itself as a leading player in attractive and high-growth life science end-markets. Caldic’s management team has a track record of acquiring companies and subsequently integrating and accelerating their growth under its ownership.

Alexander Wessels, CEO, Caldic, stated: We are thrilled that Advent is partnering with Wilbur-Ellis as this will create a unique opportunity to combine two major players, Caldic and Connell, each with a strong family heritage who are supported by a strong private shareholder base with extensive expertise in the sector. Bringing together similar entrepreneurial cultures and complementary geographies reinforces our ambition to establish Caldic as a global growth platform with a significant presence in two high-growth regions, Asia-Pacific and Latin America. This is an exciting moment to join forces as we accelerate our growth and firmly position the business as one of the major global players in our industry.”

Connell’s product portfolio includes specialty chemicals and ingredients for life science segments such as food, pharmaceuticals, and personal care, as well as industrial segments, such as coatings, rubber and lubricants. With a significant presence in Asia-Pacific, Connell’s strengths lie in its world-class network of principals, combined with technical and marketing expertise, and its extensive presence in local segments. These strengths enable Connell to meet customer-specific requirements through customized formulation and marketing support and dedicated, value-added blending capabilities, which it has built out over its 125 years of local presence across the Asia-Pacific region.

Azita Owlia, who will serve as CEO of the combined entities in Asia-Pacific, added: “In terms of value creation, this is a huge win for our customers, suppliers, and employees. We will be stronger than ever and able to bring reach and capabilities to the segments we serve, as well as global growth opportunities for our employees.”

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2023 subject to customary conditions and regulatory approvals. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Wilbur-Ellis and Connell were advised in this transaction by Rabobank and Natrium Capital, joint financial advisors.

About Advent International: Founded in 1984, Advent International is one of the largest and most experienced global private equity investors. The firm has invested in over 395 private equity investments across 41 countries, and as of June 30, 2022, had $96 billion in assets under management. With 15 offices in 12 countries, Advent has established a globally integrated team of 270 private equity investment professionals across North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia. The firm focuses on investments in five core sectors, including industrial & chemicals, business and financial services; technology; health care and retail, consumer and leisure. For over 35 years, Advent has been dedicated to international investing and remains committed to partnering with management teams to deliver sustained revenue and earnings growth for its portfolio companies.

Apart from Caldic, Advent has invested in over 30 other companies in the chemicals industry over recent years. Examples include Röhm, one of the global market leaders in methacrylate chemicals, allnex, a global leader in resins for the paints and coatings industry, Oxea, a leading supplier of oxo alcohols and oxo derivatives, and VIAKEM, a leading manufacturer of fine chemicals.

Advent’s approach is to provide significant support to management teams by assisting with operating resources and expertise from its Portfolio Support Group and third-party Operating Partner program. 

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About the Wilbur-Ellis companies:  Founded in 1921, the Wilbur-Ellis companies are leading international marketers, distributors and manufacturers of agricultural products, animal nutrients and specialty chemicals and ingredients. By developing strong relationships, making strategic market investments, and capitalizing on new opportunities, the Wilbur-Ellis companies have continued to grow the business with sales of over $3.5 billion. For more information, please visit

About Caldic: Because we care, we touch the lives of hundreds of thousands of people every day. We inspire innovative and sustainable solutions in life science and specialty chemicals for the food, pharma, personal care and industrial markets of the world. Our solutions, carefully sourced and customized to exacting specifications whenever required, are backed by outstanding research & development, customer service, and technical & regulatory support, ensuring that they meet precisely determined needs at every stage of the value chain. 

Across Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific, our approximately 2,600 employees go the extra mile day in, day out, to deliver value-add solutions for our customers. In our activities we embrace the principles of sustainability designing products, services and processes with these in mind. From formulation to delivery, from ingredient to packing, from supplier to customer, we care about every detail of what we do. Because every detail is in our care.

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About Connell: Connell is a leading marketer and distributor of specialty chemicals and ingredients in Asia-Pacific, with 125 years of experience. Its extensive network across 48 locations in 18 countries is where big-business resources meet small business agility. Connell brings outstanding insights and service to the life and industrial science markets, while promoting a broad range of leading global manufacturers, its own formulated products, and extensive technical, marketing and supply chain expertise. With its intimate market knowledge and creative approach, Connell provides its business partners with unlimited opportunities to grow their businesses.