Palladium Paints New Platform –

New York-based Palladium Equity Partners and Dennis Pawley this month made a controlling investment of $40 million in Haden International Group Inc., an international provider of paint finishing systems. The company also entered into a new $25 million senior credit facility with Comerica Bank. Palladium will take four seats on the company’s board of directors.

Pawley, former executive vice president for worldwide manufacturing and corporate labor relations for DaimlerChrysler, was key in bringing the deal to the attention of Palladium Equity Partners.

“This company is tops in its industry and there are only two or three players on a global basis that produce the quality of finish that’s required for automobiles and aircrafts,” said Marcos Rodriquez, a managing member of Palladium Equity Partners. “It’s really a very solid company that needed an equity investment to take it to the next level. They have a tremendous backlog on a global basis, and all they really needed were investors to commit working capital to strengthen the balance sheet.”

Ken Dargatz, president and chief executive officer of Haden International, said in a statement, “Palladium’s investment in Haden is a strong vote of confidence in recognition of Haden’s technological leadership…Palladium’s financial support and industry expertise will enhance our ability to serve our customers’ growth and quality plans.”

Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Haden International is a supplier of paint finishing systems and equipment to original equipment manufacturers such as DaimlerChrysler, Toyota Motor Corp., General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., BMW and The Boeing Co. The company had sales of approximately $300 million in 2000 and will use the Palladium funds to strengthen its balance sheet and provide adequate working capital, enhancing its ability to meet the needs of its growing customer base.

DaimlerChrysler earlier this year commissioned the company to build a paint facility in its Toluca, Mexico, plant, which manufactures DaimlerChrysler’s popular PT Cruiser series. In addition, Toyota also commissioned the company to expand its Sienna van facility in Princeton, Indiana, as part of the automaker’s broader expansion program in North America.

Rodriquez said that short-term goals for Haden include fulfilling its orders from DaimlerChrysler and Toyota, with long-term goals being to increase cash flow, revenue and to solidify the company on a global basis.

“This can be a very profitable business if you partner up with the right customers and go after the right type of business,” he said.