PHILADELPHIA, March 1, 2007 – Graham Partners, a Pennsylvania-based private equity firm specializing in buyouts of manufacturing companies, has established its first aerospace investment platform with its concurrent acquisitions of two leading aircraft component and assembly manufacturers, Atlas Aerospace and Vitron Manufacturing. Atlas and Vitron are value-added manufacturers of new and replacement OEM parts for corporate, regional, commercial and defense aircrafts. The companies primarily manufacture aluminum precision-machined parts, sheet metal fabricated parts and complex assemblies, with a focus on high-end cockpit and structural components for current production, new and retrofit aircraft programs. Generally operating under long-term contracts with customers such as Raytheon, Honeywell, Cessna, Rockwell Collins, Spirit and Boeing, the companies have each earned a stellar reputation in the industry. Graham Partners plans to oversee its investments in the two companies under one aerospace platform, however, in the near term, operationally, the two companies will continue to be run as separate businesses with plans for a phased integration over the medium term.
Graham’s strategy is to acquire industrial businesses that are benefiting from raw materials and technology conversion trends in their industries, where Graham can utilize its extensive operating resources and industrial network to add value during its holding period. Atlas and Vitron are both benefiting from a conversion trend in the aerospace sector that is being driven by OEMs and large Tier 1 aerospace suppliers shifting their strategic focus towards aircraft design and assembly, and away from the production of component parts and sub-assemblies.
Joe May, Managing Principal of Graham Partners, commented: “We are very pleased to have partnered with two exceptionally run companies that are both extremely well positioned for profitable growth within their industry. Over the years, we have evaluated a number of opportunities to invest in the aerospace sector, and have always been attracted to the highly engineered, value added nature of the industry. In this case, we were particularly attracted to the growth prospects for these two businesses, which are being driven by the outsourcing trend of OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers, along with strong market demand for the aircraft platforms being served by the companies.”
Bill Ankrom, CEO of Vitron, said: “Vitron is an established leader in this industry, and favorable industry trends should continue to deliver new opportunities for us to expand our business. With our strong customer base and our industry leading ‘lights out’ manufacturing capabilities, we are well positioned for continued success. We look forward to working with Graham to achieve great things for our companies and investors.”
Chris Lette, CEO of Atlas, stated: “Having Graham as a partner is an exciting development for all of us. Integrating these two industry leading companies will solidify our market position, allow us to grow through selective acquisitions, and enable us to invest in the resources necessary to accelerate growth in the value-added areas of our business.”
Although terms of the transactions were not disclosed, National City led the senior debt financing, along with CIT Capital Securities, and Golub Capital and AEA Mezzanine Fund participated in the subordinated debt to support the transaction.
About Graham Partners (www.grahampartners.net): Graham Partners is a leading, lower middle market industrial private equity firm based in suburban Philadelphia with over $850 million under management. Graham Partners is sponsored by the privately held Graham Group of York, Pennsylvania, an industrial and investment concern with global interests in plastics, packaging, machinery, building products and outsource manufacturing. Graham Partners seeks to acquire industrial companies with revenues between $20 million and $350 million that participate in manufacturing niches where it can leverage its unique combination of operating resources and financial expertise.
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