News

Acquisition

Houston, TX January 04, 2016

Dexter Axle, a Portfolio Company of The Sterling Group, Completes the Acquisition of AL-KO Vehicle Technology to Form DexKo Global Inc.

The Sterling Group, a middle market private equity firm, today announced that its portfolio company, Dexter Axle, has completed the acquisition of AL-KO VT. The combined companies have been renamed DexKo Global Inc. Today’s acquisition and the formation of DexKo Global Inc. creates the global leader in trailer axle and chassis supply with sales approaching nearly $1 billion.

AL-KO is Dexter’s fourth acquisition under Sterling ownership and its third corporate carve-out. Dexter completed the carve-out from the family-owned AL-KO Kober SE, who will remain a significant shareholder in DexKo Global Inc.

Headquartered in Kötz, Germany, AL-KO VT is the leading European designer and manufacturer of trailer axles, trailer and caravan components, chassis and motorized chassis. The company operates from 20+ locations around the world, including in Europe, Australia, South Africa, and China.

Dexter is the clear market leader in quality, innovation and service in North America. The addition of Dexter’s European counterpart will result in an even stronger organization. The two companies will be able to leverage shared resources and technology, as well as the advantages of a global footprint and significantly expanded scale. Dexter and AL-KO VT will remain under their current brands as market leaders in their respective geographies.

“The addition of AL-KO VT is transformative for Dexter, nearly doubling the company’s size and significantly expanding its company’s geographic footprint,” said Kevin Garland, Partner at The Sterling Group. “We look forward to executing on the operational and strategic opportunities that exist at DexKo Global Inc.”

Fred Bentley, Dexter board member and former CEO of Maxion Wheels, has been named President and CEO of DexKo Global Inc. “I am excited by the opportunity to lead and bring together two world class organizations. We will focus on continuing to lead with great technology and customer service and to expand our strong market leadership positions. It is truly an exciting time for this new organization and we will use our collective strengths for the benefit of all of our customers, employees, suppliers and stakeholders,” said Fred Bentley. Adam Dexter will continue in his current responsibilities as President and CEO of the US-based Dexter.

About The Sterling Group, L.P.

Founded in 1982, The Sterling Group is a private equity investment firm that targets controlling interests in basic manufacturing, distribution and industrial services companies. Typical enterprise values of these companies range from $100 million to $500 million. Sterling has sponsored the buyout of 46 platform companies and numerous add-on acquisitions for a total transaction value of over $10.0 billion. Currently, Sterling has $2.3 billion of assets under management. Current portfolio companies include CST Industries, Express, Saxco International, DexKo Global Inc., Safe Fleet, Specified Air Solutions, American Bath Group and ProcessBarron.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results and all investments are subject to loss.



Sales

Houston, TX October 02, 2015

The Sterling Group Completes the Sale of Universal Fiber Systems to HIG

The Sterling Group, a private equity firm based in Houston, Texas, announced that it has completed the sale of Universal Fiber Systems (“UFS”) to funds managed by HIG.

Headquartered in Bristol, Virginia, UFS is a leading manufacturer of high-performance, specialty synthetic fibers for niche segments of the commercial carpet, transportation carpet and specialty apparel industries. During Sterling’s ownership, EBITDA has grown by over 70% based on a series of strategic and operational initiatives focused on market share growth, international expansion and cost savings and other margin improvement programs. This growth was accomplished in the face of a difficult market environment for nearly half of the company’s business serving commercial construction customers.

“Sterling was fortunate to partner with such a strong management team, led by CEO Marc Ammen, to drive substantial EBITDA growth in the face of significant headwinds in UFS’ commercial construction end market,” said Kent Wallace, Partner at The Sterling Group. “The team’s tireless execution on a set of strategic and operational initiatives resulted in strong performance in a difficult environment.”

“Sterling’s support was instrumental in achieving new levels of profitability at our company,” said Marc Ammen, CEO. “We look forward to partnering with HIG to continue to grow the business and serve our loyal customers.”

Sterling focuses on implementing its operational investment strategy to fundamentally grow and improve North American based industrial businesses. The Sterling Group was advised on the sale by Baird and Bracewell & Guiliani.

About The Sterling Group

Founded in 1982, The Sterling Group is a private equity investment firm that targets controlling interests in basic manufacturing, distribution and industrial services companies. Typical enterprise values of these companies range from $100 million to $500 million. Sterling has sponsored the buyout of 46 platform companies and numerous add-on acquisitions for a total transaction value of over $10.0 billion. Currently, Sterling has over $2.4 billion of assets under management. Current portfolio companies include CST Industries, Express, Saxco International, Dexter Axle, Safe Fleet, Specified Air Solutions, American Bath Group and ProcessBarron.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results and all investments are subject to loss.

 



Sales

Houston, TX October 01, 2015

The Sterling Group Completes the Sale of Liqui-Box to Olympus Partners

The Sterling Group, a private equity firm based in Houston, Texas, announced that it has completed the sale of Liqui-Box to funds managed by Olympus Partners. Sterling acquired the business from DuPont in 2011, its fourth carve-out from DuPont. Sterling has completed 22 corporate carve-outs since its inception in 1982.

Headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, Liqui-Box is a leading global player in the bag-in-box industry. The company designs and supplies liquid packaging systems to meet filling and dispensing needs across numerous end markets, including dairy, beverage, food, and wine.

Sterling engineered the complicated separation of the global Liqui-Box business from DuPont, established a new corporate headquarters, and implemented a wide variety of systems and processes so that the business could operate on a standalone basis. “Sterling’s long history executing corporate carve-outs, the first of which occurred in 1984, was a critical factor in our success with the Liqui-Box investment,” said Greg Elliott, Partner at The Sterling Group.

Sterling and management, led by CEO Ken Swanson, drove substantial organic EBITDA growth of over 45% during Sterling’s ownership period, but just as important established an independent company that will serve as a platform for strong future growth. “The company has improved operations, expanded into new geographies and end markets, and successfully reached new customers. The result is new levels of growth and profitability at Liqui-Box,” said Ken Swanson, CEO.

Sterling focuses on implementing its operational investment strategy to fundamentally grow and improve North American based industrial businesses. The Sterling Group was advised on the sale by Harris Williams & Co, and Willkie Farr & Gallagher.

About The Sterling Group

Founded in 1982, The Sterling Group is a private equity investment firm that targets controlling interests in basic manufacturing, distribution and industrial services companies. Typical enterprise values of these companies range from $100 million to $500 million. Sterling has sponsored the buyout of 46 platform companies and numerous add-on acquisitions for a total transaction value of over $10.0 billion. Currently, Sterling has over $2.4 billion of assets under management. Current portfolio companies include CST Industries, Universal Fiber Systems, Express, Saxco International, Dexter Axle, Safe Fleet, Specified Air Solutions, American Bath Group and ProcessBarron.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results and all investments are subject to loss.

 



News

Houston, TX July 27, 2015

The Sterling Group Hits $1.25 Billion Hard Cap For Its Fourth Private Equity Fund

The Sterling Group, a middle market private equity firm based in Houston, Texas, announced it has closed on $1.25 billion in investor commitments for its most recent fund, Sterling Group Partners IV (“Fund IV”). Fund IV was oversubscribed and reached its hard cap in three months. Consistent with Sterling’s successful 33-year history, Fund IV primarily will target corporate carve-outs and family businesses in the industrial sector of the middle market.

The substantial majority of Fund IV’s capital was committed by returning investors. Sterling welcomes a select number of new investors. “The Sterling team is pleased by the significant demand for Fund IV and the strength of our partnership with our investors,” said Kevin Garland, a Partner with The Sterling Group, “Sterling’s hands-on, operational approach to transforming industrial businesses has generated strong returns throughout a variety of market cycles. We intend to continue to execute and improve upon this strategy in Fund IV to produce top tier results for our investors.”

Sterling targets manufacturing, distribution and industrial service businesses generally with $100 million to $500 million in total enterprise value. The firm emphasizes its strong operational approach in partnership with management teams to grow and improve industrial businesses. Sterling’s partner group of Gary Rosenthal, John Hawkins, Kevin Garland, Greg Elliott, Kent Wallace and Brian Henry collectively has 90 years working at Sterling.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP served as legal counsel. Sterling did not utilize a placement agent.

About The Sterling Group, L.P.

Founded in 1982, The Sterling Group is a private equity investment firm that targets controlling interests in basic manufacturing, distribution and industrial services companies. Typical enterprise values of these companies range from $100 million to $500 million. Sterling has sponsored the buyout of 46 platform companies and numerous add-on acquisitions for a total transaction value in excess of $10.0 billion. Currently, Sterling has over $2.4 billion of assets under management.  Current portfolio companies include CST Industries, Universal Fiber Systems, Express, Saxco International, Liqui-Box, Dexter Axle, Safe Fleet, Specified Air Solutions, American Bath Group and ProcessBarron.

 

Past performance is no guarantee of future results and all investments are subject to loss.

 



Acquisition

Houston, TX July 01, 2015

Safe Fleet, A Portfolio Company of The Sterling Group, Acquires Hadley’s Transit Mirror Product Line

The Sterling Group, a private equity firm based in Houston, Texas, announced that its portfolio company, Safe Fleet Investments LLC, has completed the acquisition of the transit mirror product line for buses, shuttles and coaches from Hadley. This marks Safe Fleet’s fifth acquisition in the last eighteen months, as well as the second corporate carve-out.

Based in Elkhart, Indiana, Hadley’s transit mirrors business is the North American market leader for transit bus mirrors. The combination of Hadley’s transit mirror business with Safe Fleet’s existing transit offerings establishes Safe Fleet as the leading supplier of specialty safety components for transit buses. The acquisition further broadens Safe Fleet’s extensive, safety-oriented product offering, in line with its on-going growth strategy.

We are delighted to welcome the Hadley transit mirrors business into the Safe Fleet family. This acquisition supports our vision to build the leading global provider of safety solutions for fleet vehicles,” said John R. Knox, President & CEO of Safe Fleet.   “Additionally, Safe Fleet is well positioned to offer our full product line of mirrors, hatches, lighting, interiors and video to the school bus, motor coach, RV, shuttle bus, emergency and military vehicle markets.”

“Safe Fleet will continue to pursue strategic growth across the fleet vehicle market, expanding our product offering both organically and through acquisition,” said Brian Henry, a Partner at The Sterling Group. “The company has nearly doubled in size during its eighteen month partnership with Sterling, and with that has come the expanded ability to serve our important fleet customers.”

Sterling utilized its extensive experience executing over 22 corporate carve-outs to assist Safe Fleets’ acquisition of the Hadley transit mirrors product line.

About Safe Fleet

Headquartered in Belton, MO, Safe Fleet owns a portfolio of brands that provide increased functionality and integrated solutions for fleet vehicle manufacturers and operators around the world. These brands serve five major markets including: emergency services, bus and rail, truck and trailer, utility, and industrial. With 1,000 employees, the Safe Fleet family of brands operates almost 600,000 square feet of manufacturing space and targets markets with increasing demand for operator, passenger, and pedestrian safety. For more information about Safe Fleet please visit www.safefleet.net.

About The Sterling Group

Founded in 1982, The Sterling Group is a private equity investment firm that targets controlling interests in basic manufacturing, distribution and industrial services companies. Typical enterprise values of these companies range from $100 million to $500 million. Sterling has sponsored the buyout of 46 platform companies and numerous add-on acquisitions for a total transaction value of over $10.0 billion. Currently, Sterling has over $1.2 billion of assets under management through two active funds. Current portfolio companies include CST Industries, Universal Fiber Systems, Express, Saxco International, Liqui-Box, Dexter Axle, Safe Fleet, Specified Air Solutions, American Bath Group and ProcessBarron.

 

Past performance is no guarantee of future results and all investments are subject to loss.



Sales

Houston, TX May 27, 2015

The Sterling Group Completes the Sale of B&G Crane Service to NCSG Crane

The Sterling Group, a private equity firm based in Houston, Texas, announced that it has completed the sale of B&G Crane Service (“B&G”) to NCSG Crane & Heavy Haul Corporation. Sterling acquired the business from the second generation family owners in 2010.

Headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana, B&G specializes in providing fully operated and maintained crane services, heavy rigging and specialty hauling services in the Louisiana Gulf Coast region. Sterling partnered with the family owners to expand the business into Texas. During Sterling’s ownership, the company’s addressable market expanded by over three times. Resulting revenue and EBITDA growth was substantial.

“The Grilletta family had built a market leading, best-in-class business, and we were fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with them to continue to grow the business in Louisiana while also entering the Texas market,” said Kent Wallace, Partner at The Sterling Group. ”Sterling’s strategic and operational approach to investing in family-owned businesses resulted in strong returns for our partners in B&G.”

Xavier Grilletta, Operational Advisor at B&G commented, “Over the past several years, The Sterling Group has helped support meaningful growth at B&G and we greatly appreciate their sponsorship and support. Our family and the entire B&G team is looking forward to our new partnership with NCSG.”

During its 33 year history, Sterling has partnered with thirteen family- or entrepreneur-owned business owners to fundamentally grow and improve North American based industrial businesses. The Sterling Group was advised on the sale by RBC Capital Markets and Bracewell & Guiliani.

About The Sterling Group

Founded in 1982, The Sterling Group is a private equity investment firm that targets controlling interests in basic manufacturing, distribution and industrial services companies. Typical enterprise values of these companies range from $100 million to $500 million. Sterling has sponsored the buyout of 46 platform companies and numerous add-on acquisitions for a total transaction value of over $10.0 billion. Currently, Sterling has over $1.2 billion of assets under management through two active funds. Current portfolio companies include CST Industries, Universal Fiber Systems, Express, Saxco International, Liqui-Box, Dexter Axle, Safe Fleet, Specified Air Solutions, American Bath Group and ProcessBarron.

 

Past performance is no guarantee of future results and all investments are subject to loss.



Acquisition

Houston, TX May 01, 2015

The Sterling Group Completes the Acquisition of ProcessBarron

The Sterling Group, a private equity firm based in Houston, Texas, announced that it has completed the acquisition of Process Equipment, Inc. (“ProcessBarron”).  Sterling acquired the business from the founding family and management team who are reinvesting alongside Sterling in the new transaction.

Headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, ProcessBarron is a leading provider of custom turn-key air and material handling solutions to a variety of industries including utility providers and pulp, paperboard, metals and cement producers. The company designs, engineers, fabricates, installs, maintains and repairs equipment critical in powering industrial plants in a variety of end markets.

“Over the past 30 years, ProcessBarron has provided best in class service and equipment to a variety of process industries,” said Ken Nolen, President of ProcessBarron. “The entire ProcessBarron team looks forward to partnering with Sterling to further expand the business.”

Sterling has a long history of partnering with family- and entrepreneur- owned businesses to achieve new levels of financial performance. “ProcessBarron has a unique value proposition in its niche markets,” said Greg Elliott, Partner at The Sterling Group.  “We look forward to working with the ProcessBarron team to continue to broaden their product offerings and geographical reach to provide value to their customers.”

About The Sterling Group

Founded in 1982, The Sterling Group is a private equity investment firm that targets controlling interests in basic manufacturing, distribution and industrial services companies. Typical enterprise values of these companies range from $100 million to $500 million. Sterling has sponsored the buyout of 45 platform companies and numerous add-on acquisitions for a total transaction value of over $10.0 billion. Currently, Sterling has over $1.2 billion of assets under management through two active funds. Current portfolio companies include CST Industries, Universal Fiber Systems, Express, B&G Crane, Saxco International, Liqui-Box, Dexter Axle, Safe Fleet, Specified Air Solutions and American Bath Group.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results and all investments are subject to loss.



Acquisition

Houston, TX April 27, 2015

Safe Fleet, A Portfolio Company of The Sterling Group, Acquires Elkhart Brass

The Sterling Group, a private equity firm based in Houston, Texas, announced that its portfolio company, Safe Fleet Investments LLC, has completed the acquisition of Elkhart Brass. Safe Fleet is the market leader in providing safety solutions for fleet vehicles. The company designs and manufactures safety-oriented components for the emergency vehicle, truck and trailer, utility vehicle, school bus, and transit bus end markets. Elkhart Brass is Safe Fleet’s third acquisition in the last fifteen months and further broadens Safe Fleet’s extensive, safety-oriented product offering, in line with its on-going growth strategy. Elkhart Brass is an innovative manufacturer of fire fighting and fire protection equipment, including monitors, valves, nozzles, appliances and accessories used in virtually every aspect of fire fighting. “We are excited to welcome Elkhart Brass into the Safe Fleet family. The combination of Elkhart Brass with FRC and Foam Pro will enable us to develop integrated systems of monitors, valves, foam proportioning and electronic controls for the global emergency market,” said John R. Knox, President & CEO of Safe Fleet. “This acquisition supports our vision to build the leading global provider of safety solutions for fleet vehicles.”

Safe Fleet was formed in 2013 through the simultaneous acquisitions of ROM Corporation and Specialty Manufacturing Inc. The growing Safe Fleet portfolio includes ten leading brands serving the safety and productivity needs for a variety of end markets. “Safe Fleet is committed to increasing its ability to provide critical safety products to its loyal customer base,” said Brian Henry of The Sterling Group. Safe Fleet will continue to pursue new acquisition opportunities to expand the products and solutions it offers its fleet vehicle customers.

About Safe Fleet

Headquartered in Belton, MO, Safe Fleet owns a portfolio of brands that provides safety-oriented components and integrated solutions for fleet vehicle manufacturers and operators around the world. These brands serve five major markets including: emergency services, bus and rail, truck and trailer, utility, and industrial. With almost 1000 employees, the Safe Fleet family of brands operates over 500,000 square feet of manufacturing space and targets markets with increasing demand for operator, passenger and pedestrian safety. For more information about Safe Fleet please visit www.safefleetsolutions.com.

About The Sterling Group, L.P.

Founded in 1982, The Sterling Group, L.P. (www.sterling-group.com) is a private equity investment firm that targets controlling interests in basic manufacturing, distribution and industrial services companies. Typical enterprise values of these companies range from $100 million to $500 million. Sterling has sponsored the buyout of 45 platform companies and numerous add-on acquisitions for a total transaction value of over $10.0 billion. Currently, Sterling has over $1.1 billion of assets under management. Current portfolio companies include CST Industries, Universal Fiber Systems, Express, B&G Crane, Saxco International, Liqui-Box, Dexter Axle, Safe Fleet, Specified Air Solutions and Aquatic.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results and all investments are subject to loss.



Acquisition

January 27, 2015

The Sterling Group Builds a Leading HVAC Manufacturer Under the Name Specified Air Solutions

The Sterling Group, a middle market private equity firm based in Houston, Texas, today announced Specified Air Solutions as the new name for its portfolio of HVAC companies. The company previously operated under the name Roberts-Gordon LLC and was acquired by Sterling in July 2014.

Specified Air Solutions is an international manufacturer of semi-custom commercial and industrial HVAC equipment, as well as industrial process and finishing equipment. The Specified Air portfolio includes many well known brands such as Addison, Rapid Engineering, Weather-Rite, Bananza, Phoenix Air Systems, Combat, and Roberts Gordon. Each of these product lines will retain their respective names serving a wide range of market applications including manufacturing facilities, warehouses, educational facilities, commercial buildings, health care facilities, food processing plants, and many more. The products are produced in five manufacturing facilities in the United States and the United Kingdom.

“Specified Air Solutions is a group of leading manufacturers in a number of HVAC applications,” said John Hawkins, Partner at The Sterling Group. “The company will focus on the significant organic growth opportunities that exist and will be the platform for acquisitions into complementary HVAC markets.”

President and CEO of Specified Air Solutions, Charley Brown said, “We have an excellent portfolio of product lines with valuable names in their respective markets, and we plan to meaningfully expand on the company’s prior success. The Specified Air Solutions name more clearly represents both our current identity and future aspirations in the market for semi-custom HVAC solutions.”

About The Sterling Group

Founded in 1982, The Sterling Group is a private equity investment firm that targets controlling interests in basic manufacturing, distribution and industrial services companies. Typical enterprise values of these companies range from $100 million to $500 million. Sterling has sponsored the buyout of 45 platform companies and numerous add-on acquisitions for a total transaction value of over $10.0 billion. Currently, Sterling has over $1.1 billion of committed capital under management through two funds. Current portfolio companies include CST Industries, Universal Fiber Systems, Express, B&G Crane, Saxco International, Liqui-Box, Dexter Axle, Safe Fleet, Specified Air Solutions and Aquatic.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results and all investments are subject to loss.

 



Acquisition

Houston, TX September 19, 2014

Safe Fleet, A Portfolio Company of The Sterling Group, Completes the Acquisition of Seon Design Inc.

The Sterling Group, a private equity firm based in Houston, Texas, today announced that its portfolio company, Safe Fleet Holdings LLC, has completed the acquisition of Seon Design Inc. Safe Fleet is a market leader in providing safety solutions for fleet vehicles. The company designs and manufactures safety- and productivity-oriented components for the emergency vehicle, truck and trailer, utility vehicle, school bus, and transit bus end markets. Seon is Safe Fleet’s second acquisition in the last nine months and further broadens Safe Fleet’s extensive product offering, in line with its on-going growth strategy.

Seon is the leading manufacturer of video surveillance and fleet management solutions for school and transit buses. “Seon has developed and built an industry-leading software and hardware platform for mobile surveillance and fleet asset tracking and management,” said John R. Knox, Safe Fleet President and CEO. “The Seon products and capabilities are a great addition to Safe Fleet’s existing portfolio and will help us further serve our fleet vehicle customers.”

Safe Fleet was formed in 2013 through the simultaneous acquisitions of ROM Corporation and Specialty Manufacturing Inc. “Safe Fleet is committed to increasing its ability to provide critical safety products to its loyal customer base,” said Gary Rosenthal, a Partner at The Sterling Group. Safe Fleet will continue to pursue new acquisition opportunities to expand the products and solutions it offers its fleet vehicle customers.

About Safe Fleet

Headquartered in Belton, MO, Safe Fleet is a leading provider of safety solutions for fleet vehicles. Safe Fleet owns a portfolio of brands that help its customers improve the safety and efficiency of their fleets, operators, passengers and pedestrians. These fleets include: emergency vehicles, refrigerated trucks and trailers, utility vehicles, and bus and rail cars. The Safe Fleet family of brands includes ROM, Bustin, Prime Design, FRC, Specialty Manufacturing (SMI), Pretoria, Transpec, FoamPro, and now Seon. For more information about Safe Fleet and its family of brands, please visit www.safefleetsolutions.com.

About The Sterling Group

Founded in 1982, The Sterling Group is a private equity investment firm that targets controlling interests in basic manufacturing, distribution and industrial services companies.  Typical enterprise values of these companies range from $100 million to $500 million.  Sterling has sponsored the buyout of 45 platform companies and numerous add-on acquisitions for a total transaction value of over $10.0 billion.  Currently, Sterling has over $1.0 billion of committed capital under management through three funds. Current portfolio companies include CST Industries, Universal Fiber Systems, Express, B&G Crane, Saxco International, Liqui-Box, Dexter Axle, Safe Fleet, Roberts Gordon and Aquatic.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results and all investments are subject to loss.