Sunday, October 2, 2022

Winston-Salem water vendor inks a Primo deal

Investors who bought shares of Primo Water at the closing price on its first trading day in 2010 have a gain of about 12%. But investors who bought shares last Friday now sport a similar gain after the Winston-Salem-based self-service water company agreed to buy rival Glacier Water Systems of Vista, Calif., for $263 million on Oct. 10.

News of the Glacier deal sent Primo shares soaring more than 13% to the highest levels in more than a year.

The combined companies have annual sales of about $270 million and a network of more than 46,000 locations in the U.S. and Canada for customers to trade empty containers.

It’s a pivotal deal for Primo CEO Billy Prim, the Yadkin County native who built Blue Rhino into a $250 million propane distributor until selling the business to Overland Park, Kan.-based Ferrellgas for $343 million in 2004. He then launched Primo Water, hoping to replicate his gas-industry success, Business North Carolina noted in a 2006 story.

Billy Prim
Billy Prim

Primo went public for about $12 in December 2010. Since then its shares have traded as high as $15 in mid-2011 and as low as 75 cents a year later. Over the last four years shares have rebounded, closing at $11.85 last week. After losing about $24 million in 2013 and 2014, Primo made a profit of about $1.9 million last year.

Prim is the largest holder with about 2.4 million shares now valued at more than $30 million. He owns the Winston-Salem Dash, the city’s Class A minor-league team.

BMO Capital Markets was Primo Water’s financial adviser, while Raleigh-based Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan, LLP and K&L Gates LLP acted as legal counsel.




David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg is editor of Business North Carolina. Reach him at

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