NEW YORK, Sept. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Palladium Equity Partners, LLC, a
New York-based private equity firm, announced today that it has acquired
Castro Cheese Company Inc., a leading manufacturer, marketer and
distributor of Hispanic cheeses and creams. Castro Cheese is based in
Houston and markets its products under the "La Vaquita" brand.
Alex Ventosa, a Managing Director of Palladium, said, "The La Vaquita
brand is well known throughout Texas for the high quality and authenticity
of its products. Led by founder and President Maria Castro, Castro Cheese
has established a 30-year track record of growth and development,
maintaining the quality of their all-natural cheeses and creams while
expanding their portfolio of branded dairy products. Castro is a profitable
company with a strong management team and talented employees. We look
forward to working with them to pursue expansion through new markets, new
retails channels, and the introduction of new products."
Maria Castro emigrated to Houston from the state of San Luis Potos�,
Mexico, in 1971 and soon found high demand among friends and neighbors for
her authentic Queso Fresco cheese. She converted her family's garage into a
mini- factory, but soon expanded into larger facilities in Houston and
incorporated Castro Cheese Company in 1977. Today, the Company is the
second largest Hispanic cheese company in the U.S., according to
Information Resources, Inc., and it operates in state-of-the art
manufacturing facilities with a highly trained staff dedicated to both the
quality of their "La Vaquita" brand products and to the family spirit that
exists throughout the Company.
Maria Castro, President of Castro Cheese, said, "Our Company can
celebrate over thirty years of growth and success because we have kept our
heritage as an Hispanic company making authentic products of the highest
quality as a central part of everything we do. I am delighted to welcome
Palladium, a firm with a distinctive focus on companies that serve the
market for Hispanic products and services, as our partner. They have a
strong track record as an investor in food businesses and are
well-positioned to support our growth as we seek to introduce our La
Vaquita products to a broader market while preserving the character that
has made us successful."
Ms. Castro will be retiring as President of the company, but will
continue to serve as a Director and as an advisor. Palladium Operating
Executive J. Robert Hall, an investor in food-related industries and an
industry veteran who has served as an executive with Nabisco, Kraft and
Nestl�, will serve as Interim CEO until a permanent CEO is identified.
Emporia Capital Management provided senior debt.
About Castro Cheese Company
Founded in 1971, Castro Cheese Company (www.castrocheese.com) is a
leading manufacturer, marketer and distributor of queso fresco and other
varieties of Hispanic cheeses and creams. Castro's products are marketed
under the La Vaquita brand in Texas and other southwestern states and are
known for their quality, authenticity and freshness.
About Palladium Equity Partners
Palladium Equity Partners, LLC (www.palladiumequity.com) is an
investment firm targeting companies in food/restaurants, financial and
business services, consumer/retail, healthcare, manufacturing, and media.
Palladium has a particular focus on companies that are well-positioned to
capitalize on the fast-growing U.S. Hispanic market. Among other portfolio
companies, Palladium's food industry investments include Taco Bueno, a
leading quick- serve restaurant chain specializing in Hispanic cuisine,
Wise Foods, maker of the Wise line of salty snacks, and Sahale Snacks,
producer of natural and healthy gourmet snacks. The principals of Palladium
have invested over $2.5 billion of equity in more than 50 portfolio
companies over the last two decades. Formed in 1997, Palladium currently
has capital under management in excess of $750 million.
For Palladium Equity Partners
David Lilly / Laura Walters
Kekst and Company
SOURCE Palladium Equity Partners, LLC