HOUSTON, TX (September 30, 2013) – The Sterling Group, a middle market private equity firm based in Houston, Texas, today announced that its affiliated investment fund, Sterling Group Partners III, L.P., has completed the acquisition of ROM Corporation (“ROM”) and Specialty Manufacturing, Inc. (“SMI”), combining the businesses through its holding company, Safe Fleet Acquisition Corp. The investment is Sterling’s fifth investment in its third fund, an $820 million fund raised in 2010. The companies were formerly owned but independently operated and financed by Century Park Capital Partners.
Headquartered in Belton, Missouri, the newly combined company provides safety-and productivity-oriented components to the emergency vehicle, truck and trailer, utility vehicle, school bus, and transit bus end markets. Together, ROM and SMI maintain a leading market position across the majority of its niche product lines. The company’s value-added products focus on enhancing worker safety and productivity and are characterized by their durability, reliability, and versatility in usage and application.
“ROM and SMI offer a powerful combination of two market leading businesses that have consistently and reliably provided safety related equipment to fleets in their respective industries for a collective 88 years,” said Gary Rosenthal, Partner at The Sterling Group. “The combination of these two businesses allows us to draw on the strengths of the two legacy organizations. Sterling will work closely with management to further improve operations and take advantage of numerous strategic and acquisition related opportunities.”
“We are pleased to partner with Sterling to bring these two companies together, deepen our product offerings, and expand our ability to serve our customers,” said Joe Uebbing, former CEO of SMI and newly appointed CEO of Safe Fleet. Jeff Hupke, former CEO of ROM and President of Safe Fleet added, “Sterling has a history of successfully integrating numerous middle market acquisitions over many years, and we look forward growing the combined business together.”
The acquisition was financed with equity from Sterling Group Partners III, L.P. First lien financing was arranged by BNP Paribas, and second lien debt was provided by Oaktree Capital Mezzanine.
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 43 platform companies and numerous add-on acquisitions for a total transaction value of approximately $10.1 billion. Currently, Sterling has $1.2 billion of committed capital under management through three funds. Current portfolio companies include CST Industries, Universal Fiber Systems, Express, B&G Crane, Saxco International, Stackpole International, Liqui-Box, Dexter Axle and ROM-SMI (Safe Fleet).
Past performance is no guarantee of future results and all investments are subject to loss.