Compass Minerals Acquires Minority Ownership Stake in Fire Retardant Company

Compass Minerals today announced a $45 million equity investment in FORTRESS North America (Fortress), an early-stage long-term fire retardant (LTR) company.

This investment builds upon an initial $5 million Series A investment the company previously made in Fortress and increases Compass Minerals’ minority equity stake ownership to approximately 45%.

Fortress’ patent portfolio of LTR and ground retardant formulations has been developed primarily using essential minerals supplied from Compass Minerals’ solar evaporation site on the Great Salt Lake near Ogden, Utah, which was the foundation of the strategic alliance between the two companies.

Led by CEO Robert Burnham alongside a team of multi-disciplined, veteran fire professionals, Fortress is the first new company in more than 20 years to pass all testing protocols and certifications for qualifying two new LTR products. LTRs are highly specialized formulations designed specifically for aerial drops to control the spread of wildfires.

“Since we began working closely with the entrepreneurial Fortress team approximately 18 months ago, we have been excited about the growth potential of their innovative products in what has historically been a stagnant and sole-sourced market,” said Kevin S. Crutchfield, Compass Minerals president and CEO. “We believe our support, both financially and operationally, will help accelerate that growth potential, and we anticipate Fortress’ high demand season will help to counter-balance the seasonality of our core deicing salt business.”

Fortress plans to further expand its suite of magnesium chloride-based retardants, which provide unique properties for fighting wildfires and abating fire risk. The announced investment by Compass Minerals is expected to enable Fortress to scale more quickly.

Read the full news release for more information.