ThyssenKrupp AG, based in Essen, Germany, announced that it has sold ThyssenKrupp Waupaca to an affiliate of KPS Capital Partners LP (KPS), a New York-based private-equity firm.
A “Stock Purchase Agreement” (SPA) signed by both parties was approved by the ThyssenKrupp AG Supervisory Board Tuesday, May 15.
KPS Capital Partners is the manager of the KPS Special Situations Funds, a family of private equity funds with over $2.8 billion of assets under management focused on investing in corporate carve-outs, restructurings and other special situations.
KPS has executed complex corporate carve-out transactions on a global basis, and has acquired businesses from numerous Global Fortune 500 companies.
The KPS investment strategy targets manufacturing and industrial companies with strong market positions that are going through a period of transition or experiencing operating or financial difficulties, according to a press release announcing the sale.
For nearly two decades, the partners of KPS have worked with the management teams and associates of its portfolio companies to improve operating and financial performance by focusing on cost reduction, efficiency and strategic growth initiatives.
KPS Portfolio Companies have aggregate annual revenues of $5.0 billion, operate 73 manufacturing plants in 12 countries, and employ over 23,000 people, directly and through joint ventures worldwide.
David Shapiro, a KPS Managing Partner, said, “We are very excited to create an independent Waupaca Foundry. Waupaca is the largest company in its industry worldwide with the leading North American market share in each of its diverse end markets and strong customer relationships that have been developed over decades of partnership. The company possesses world-class assets, unrivaled scale and scope, industry leading quality and service, and a commitment to investing in state-of-the-art technology and process development.”
With three plants in Waupaca, one in Marinette, as well as facilities in Tell City, Ind., and Etowah, Tenn., ThyssenKrupp Waupaca is the largest independent iron foundry in the world. The company employs approximately 3,500 in all three states and had sales of nearly $1.48 billion in the last fiscal year.
The foundry group produces gray and ductile iron castings and serves the automotive, commercial truck, agriculture, construction, and other industrial markets.
The decision to divest ThyssenKrupp Waupaca comes as part of the wider strategic plan and portfolio adjustment announced by the ThyssenKrupp Group in May 2011.
ThyssenKrupp Waupaca President and CEO Gary Gigante noted that the decision to sell the U.S.-based foundry to KPS came after extensive due diligence to identify a buyer that met the prerequisites outlined by ThyssenKrupp’s “best owner principle.”
Under the “principle,” the buyer was required to provide a detailed strategy for the continuity and growth of ThyssenKrupp Waupaca’s business that also took into account the interests of employees and customers.
“We wanted to be sure that Waupaca’s next owner shared our commitment to its future and that it was ‘business as usual’ for our workers and customers the day after the deal is finalized. I believe that we can achieve that goal,” Gigante said.
“We look forward to working with Chief Executive Officer Gary Gigante, his management team and all of Waupaca’s employees to build on this great platform by strategically expanding into regions where Waupaca’s key customers are growing. The combination of the company’s unique strengths and the financial resources of KPS will provide the foundation for Waupaca’s future growth, both organically and through acquisitions in North America and around the world,” he added.
Torsten Gessner, chairman and CEO of ThyssenKrupp North America, underscored that the divestment will enable ThyssenKrupp to better capitalize on growth opportunities in the region.
“ThyssenKrupp has a diverse footprint in North America. In the last fiscal year, we employed 24,600 in the United States, Canada and Mexico, and had sales of nearly $12 billion. So as we are divesting ThyssenKrupp Waupaca, our other companies are adding jobs, increasing sales and investing in plant expansions and acquisitions across the region,” Gessner said.
Gessner heads ThyssenKrupp North America’s new Regional Headquarters in Chicago. The headquarters, which will open in summer of this year, will provide integrated strategic direction and services for all ThyssenKrupp companies in North America, and help identify new markets and opportunities for growth in the region.
The closing of the transaction is expected during the second quarter of 2012 and is subject to customary closing conditions.
ThyssenKrupp Waupaca Inc. will be renamed Waupaca Foundry Inc. upon closing of the transaction.
Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.