HKW aims to reach $200M

Mid-market buyout firm Hammond Kennedy Whitney & Co. Inc., which is nearing the $185 million target for its third fund, plans to continue raising commitments for the fund until it reaches $200 million, a goal it expects to reach by the end of the year, according to a source familiar with the fund-raising.

The Indianapolis-based firm started raising the fund, which is roughly double the size of fund II, in the fourth quarter of 2006. It targeted mostly existing institutional investors, but also pitch its fund to endowments, funds of funds and some state pension funds. Prior investors include Goergen Foundation, John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co., Indiana State Teachers’ Retirement System and National City Equity Partners.

Closing the fund will cap off a busy two years for the firm, which has sold eight companies during that time and has already bought three companies from fund III capital.

Among its exits, Honeywell announced earlier this month that it would acquire Maxon Corp., an HKW portfolio company, for $185 million. The company was purchased with the buyout shop’s second fund in 2004 for $14 million.

HKW specializes in the lower end of the middle market, acquiring U.S. industrial and service companies generating annual sales of between $20 million and $100 million and operating cash flow of at least $2 million. Its portfolio companies include Aero-Metric Inc., a map and three-dimensional model manufacturer based in Sheboygan, Wis.; Nesco, a Bluffton, Ind.-based company that sells and rents equipment to the electric utility industry; and Seneca Enterprises Inc., a label maker for motor oil containers, foil-wrapped beverage containers and other food products, based in Franklin, Pa.

The buyout shop has also put out its first shingle overseas. Last year, the firm opened an office in Shanghai, China, to help its portfolio companies source parts and products. It also has offices in New York and Chicago. —Joshua Payne