Gypsum Management and Supply logo

Gypsum Management & Supply (GMS), which bills itself as America's biggest dealer in drywall and steel studs, went public for the first time today when it began offering 7 million shares for sale and for trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Those 7 million shares were offered at $21 apiece, peaked at $22.99, and closed at $21.91. Share volume totaled 5.6 million shares, an indication the offering wasn't totally subscribed.

The offering represents about a 17.5% stake in the Tucker, Ga.-based company. The private investment firm AEA Investors L.P. and its coinvestors hold 54% of the roughly 40 million shares outstanding, while management has the other 28.5%.

GMS operates about 185 branches in 41 states spanning the country, all of them flying the flags of 45 local names rather than the GMS banner. The company describes itself as North America's leading distributor of wallboard and suspended ceiling systems, holding 13% market share in the first category and 14% in the second.

GMS said it expected to report net sales of about $1.85 billion to $1.86 billion in its fiscal year ended April 30, an 18% gain from the previous fiscal year's $1.57 billion. Such numbers would have put it around 7th or 8th on the 2016 ProSales 100--just behind No. 6 Allied Building Products and just ahead of No. 9 L&W Supply, two dealers that sell lots of drywall.

G. Michael Callahan Jr., president and CEO, GMS
Photo courtesy of GMS G. Michael Callahan Jr., president and CEO, GMS

Since its acquisition by AEA in April 2014, the company has gone on a buying and expansion spree in an intent to provide total coast-to-coast service. Company CEO and president G. Michael Callahan Jr., in an interview with ProSales today from the New York Stock Exchange, said he expects that buying pace "to be consistent for the foreseeable future."

"We're trying to expand into new markets and grow our footprint," he said. "And the fact we have the entrepreneurial environment that we have may be attractive [to potential sellers]. We've tried to maintain a locally owned, locally grown approach."

Callahan has been at GMS for several decades, dating well before AEA got involved. And despite the recent changes, he said, “the mission of the company really has been consistent from the outset, and that’s to deliver specialty interior products in a way that we provide the most exemplary service possible. AEA has essentially let us run the business and continue to expand. We’re going to continue our strategy of continuing to grow prudently, taking the appropriate steps to expand in new markets and in the markets and where we’re in.”