Gehl Foods’ owner, private-equity firm Wind Point Partners, is reportedly exploring a sale of the US aseptic products manufacturer.

A potential deal could fetch more than $600m, including debt, Reuters suggested, quoting sources familiar with the proceedings, who said Gehl has hired William Blair and Bank of Montreal as financial advisers for the sale process.

The news agency’s sources said potential buyers for Wisconsin-headquartered Gehl may include other private-equity companies, but stressed talks over a possible purchase of the dairy business may not conclude in a deal.

Wind Point acquired Gehl, which trades as Gehl Food and Beverage, in 2015 for an undisclosed sum. The co-manufacturer produces sauces, desserts, soups and broths, as well as coffee creamers and a range of drinks.

The beverages portfolio includes ready-to-drink dairy products, milk alternatives made from oats, soy and almonds and also wines and spirits.

Gehl operates out of three manufacturing facilities: Lathrop, California; Walterboro, South Carolina; and Germantown, Wisconsin.

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By GlobalData

Just Food has approached Wind Point and Gehl for comment on the potential sales process.

Reuters’ sources suggested a deal for Gehl could garner a valuation of ten times its annual EBITDA, which they put at $60m.

The business was founded in 1896 by J.P. Gehl and in the 1970s started to focus on the aseptic dairy segment, supplying retail and foodservice with its own namesake brand, and also private-label customers and contract manufacturers.

Gehl’s LinkedIn page says the business serves more than 2,000 US retailers and “several global brands”.

It is led by CEO Craig Lemieux, the former president of US food company TreeHouse Foods.

In 2018, the company acquired California Natural Products (CNP). The Lathrop-based business supplies dairy-based and dairy-alternative beverages, soups, broths, teas, nutritional drinks, and wine and spirits, all in Tetra Pak cartons. It also manufactures speciality rice and soy-based ingredients for consumer food brands.

Yesterday, Nor-Cal Beverage Company, a US co-manufacturer of products including juices and energy drinks, announced a sale of the business.

The California-based group, set up by the Deary family in 1937, has been sold to an affiliate of private-equity firm Manna Capital Partners.