Matrix Announces the Successful Sale of Van Unen/Miersma Propane
RICHMOND, VA/BALTIMORE, MD – May 21, 2021 – Matrix Capital Markets Group, Inc. (“Matrix”), a leading, independent investment bank, announces that it has advised Van Unen/Miersma Propane, Inc. (“VMP”), in some markets as d/b/a Sierra Propane, and its affiliate Windmill Propane, Inc. (“Windmill Propane”) or collectively the (“Company”) on its sale to Energy Distribution Partners, LLC (“EDP”), one of the industry’s Top Ten propane marketers. The Company is one of the largest propane retailers in its region, serving over 11,000 agricultural, commercial, and residential customers in 15 counties throughout California.
Van Unen/Miersma Propane, Inc. was founded in 1993 by Rick Van Unen, Marion Miersma, and Jeff Van Groningen. Rick and Marion had previously owned a propane business (M&M Propane) located in Southern California, which they sold to Petrolane Partners, L.P. (“Petrolane”) in 1987. Following the sale, Rick relocated to Ripon, California to work for Petrolane as a Regional Sales Manager, and Marion started a bollard production business, also in Ripon. Five years later, at the end of 1992, Rick and Marion re-entered the propane industry and asked Jeff to join them in their new venture, Van Unen/Miersma Propane, Inc.
In 2000, the Company acquired Sierra Propane, a small, independent propane distributor, which was perfectly situated adjacent to VMP’s current marketing territory. The founders continued to grow VMP and Sierra Propane through the early 2000s, and in 2006 decided it was time to expand further south within the Central Valley of California. At that time, Hurts Propane had just ceased operations, and Rick, Marion, and Jeff made the decision to pursue the acquisition of their customer base and other fixed assets. The founders incorporated Windmill Propane, acquired Hurts Propane and took on servicing their existing, new and previous customer accounts and significantly grew all operating markets for the Company over the past two decades.
Matrix provided merger and acquisition advisory services to the Company, which included valuation advisory, marketing the business through a confidential, structured sale process, and negotiation of the sale. The transaction was managed by Spencer Cavalier, Co-Head of Matrix’s Downstream Energy & Convenience Retail Investment Banking Group; Sean Dooley, Managing Director; and Nate Wah, Associate.
Rick Van Unen, CEO of VMP and Windmill Propane, said, “It would not be possible to overstate the value of the fine folks at Matrix in guiding us through this complex process and advising us on the sale of our company. I would highly recommend Matrix to anyone thinking about selling their business.”
Jeff Van Groningen, President and CFO of VMP and Windmill Propane, said, “The expertise that Matrix provided in assisting our company through this process was invaluable. We relied heavily on their experience to attract a high-quality prospective buyer that would align with our company’s core values of world class employee engagement and customer service, while maintaining a strong commitment to safety.”
Mr. Dooley added, “We are honored to have advised the shareholders among the three families on the sale of VMP and Windmill Propane. Over the last decade, Rick, Marion, and Jeff were very instrumental in transforming the existing business to a truly best-in-class propane distribution operation. They built one of the most successful propane distribution companies we have advised to date, and it was a pleasure working with them on this transaction. We wish Jeanne (Miersma), Rick, and Jeff all the best in their future endeavors.”
Energy Distribution Partners’ CEO Tom Knauff commented, “We are extremely pleased that the owners of VMP and Windmill Propane chose EDP when it came time to transition their companies. We appreciated the opportunity to work with the Matrix team on this transaction and welcome these respected propane retailers to our family of companies.”
Tammera Diehm, Noreen Sedgeman, and Michelle Fitch of Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A. served as legal counsel for VMP and Windmill Propane.