Private equity firm takes Vitamin Research stake

A Massachusetts private equity firm said last week it's invested into Carson City's Vitamin Research Products and plans to combine the Nevada company's operations with those of an Alabama company.

Castanea Partners doesn't expect that the deal will result in significant changes for Vitamin Research Products, said Andrew Collina, a principal with the private equity firm headquartered at Newton, Mass.

Robert Watson, chief executive officer of Vitamin Research Products, will remain with the maker of nutritional supplements as co-CEO.

The company operates from a 55,000-square-foot manufacturing, distribution and office facility on Arrowhead Drive. State records show it employs 20 and 50 people.

Castanea Partners also invested in Health Resources, a marketer of nutritional supplements that it is headquartered at Hueytown, Ala.

Terms of the transactions weren't disclosed.

Castanea Partners said it expects to use the in-house manufacturing and product-development capabilities of Vitamin Research Products for both companies.

The private equity firm also expects that the newly combined operations will generate greater levels of profitability to finance acquisitions or internally generated growth.

Vitamin Research Products, founded in California in 1979, moved to Carson City in the early 1990s. It sells more than 350 supplements via direct mail and the Internet to consumers and health practitioners.

Health Resources, founded in 1995, also markets directly to consumers through direct mail and the Internet. Its CEO, Layne Lowery, will serve as co-CEO of the combined companies with Watson.

Troy Stanfield, a partner in Castanea Partners, said the firm was attracted to the nutritional supplements industry because the sector has show consistent growth through economic cycles.

Vitamin Research Products and Health Resources, he said, market their products to distinctive segments of consumers and have highly loyal customers.

Castanea Partners investments in small and middle-market companies in industries ranging from consumer brands to education.


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