NMS Capital has invested in Jaflo, Inc., a tree care, utility line clearing and vegetation management business based in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The vegetation management industry has been attracting the interest of private equity over the past year. In late 2018, Blue Point Capital also acquired Kendall Vegetation Services.
Here is the press release announcing the investment.
NMS Capital (“NMS”) has partnered with company management in the recapitalization of JAFLO, Inc. (“JAFLO” or the “Company”). JAFLO is a leading vegetation management services company serving the utility and transportation end-markets in the Eastern and Midwestern regions of the United States. JAFLO will serve as NMS’ initial investment in a vegetation management platform and NMS will partner with JAFLO leadership to grow the platform with a core mission around safety, quality and reliability. In connection with the transaction, NMS has made a substantial capital commitment to support the growth of JAFLO.
JAFLO was founded in 1965 by John A. Florio in Allentown, PA. Dedicated to quality service and employee safety, the small family business has grown into a major service provider with over 550employees managing vegetation and providing emergency crews when storms hit across the country. The Company serves several of the largest investor owned utilities as well as rural electric cooperatives with highly trained crews and state-of-the art equipment. John’s son, John (Jay) P. Florio, has led the business for nearly 25 years, and he will remain a significant owner in the Company while transitioning from CEO to the Board of Directors. Kelly Clapper, JAFLO’s President, will continue his leadership of the Company.
“This is a big step forward to partner with NMS in the next stage of JAFLO’s evolution,” said Mr. Florio. “After many months of building our relationship with NMS, I’m confident that they are the right partner for JAFLO. The best days of our business are ahead of us and I look forward to continuing to support our management team alongside NMS at the Board level.”
“I’m excited to take JAFLO to the next level with this partnership,” said Mr. Clapper. “Bringing in outside capital and experience will not only advance the development of our team, culture and values, but will continue our growth to exceed customer needs and expectations in safety, quality and reliability.”
Kevin Jordan, NMS Co-Founder and Managing Partner remarked, “Jay and Kelly have done a fabulous job building their team and company culture, and NMS is proud to be a part of the bright and growing future of JAFLO. Our investment in JAFLO is a continuation of NMS’s theme-based approach to identifying differentiated opportunities in targeted sectors through extensive research and thesis development, and extensive evaluation of select management teams in our target industries. NMS evaluated a number of vegetation management companies and believe that JAFLO’s management team and employees have built a truly outstanding company.”
Noel Jeon, NMS Principal added, “Vegetation management is a regulatory-mandated critical element of protecting energy infrastructure, as approximately two-thirds of all power outages occur as a result of vegetation contact with electrical transmission and distribution. We believe the JAFLO team is among the best in the industry to deliver on these mission-critical services to their customers, and we are excited to be their partner going forward.”
In connection with the transaction, NMS Operating Executive Roxanne Bowman will serve as Executive Chair of the Board of JAFLO. Commenting on the transaction, “I’m excited to work with the great leadership at JAFLO to make the company even better tomorrow than it is today by investing in people, systems and equipment. Our goal is to continue to exceed the expectations of our customers and to employ and develop the best people in the industry.” Ms. Bowman was most recently the CEO of PowerTeam Services, an industry-leading provider of electric and gas utility services. Ms. Bowman has over 27 years in the electric utility industry with previous leadership roles at Cooper, ABB and Siemens utility businesses.
The NMS deal team also included Neal Monga and Jake Kinsley. The legal advisors for JAFLO were Norris McLaughlin and Swartz & Associates. NMS’ legal advisor was Greenberg Traurig, P.A
Founded in 1965 by John A. Florio, JAFLO is a vegetation management company that provides solutions to utility companies across the Northeast and Midwest. JAFLO is rated one of the top vegetation management companies in their region and the Lehigh Valley Business newspaper ranked JALFO one of the fastest growing companies in Central Pennsylvania. The Company also holds multiple certifications and licenses in arboriculture and herbicide applications and ranks highly amongst peers for safety in several states.
About NMS Capital:
NMS Capital is a New York headquartered private investment firm specializing in strategic equity investments and leveraged buyouts of lower middle market companies. The firm was formed through the spin-out of a group of portfolio companies from the Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division. NMS focuses on companies headquartered in the U.S. poised to benefit from sustainable growth trends with particular concentration on companies in Business Services and Healthcare Services.
The Principium Group endeavors to track all merger & acquisition activity within the lawn and landscape services industries.
2019 M&A Activity in the Landscape Services Industry details all reported transactions in 2019.