Phildrew and UBS Capital Link for Trident Deal

Phildrew Ventures and UBS Capital announced in October their acquisition of the majority of FKI plc’s Automotive Division. The deal is due to complete in December.

A new company, Trident Automotive, was formed to effect the acquisition, for $157.5 million cash (ecu 141.4 million), subject to a possible adjustment based on net assets at completion.

The Trident group comprises cable operations in the US, Canada, France, UK and Germany, producing cable control products for hand brakes, automatic and manual gear change, automatically adjusting clutch mechanisms and boot and bonnet release catches. Its cable products are sold to the automotive industry worldwide. Trident also manufactures front and rear lighting products and car door handles for the North American market at its factory in Kentwood, Michigan.Trident made operating profits of $19.4 million on sales of $298 million in the year ending March 1997.

Equity funding for the deal is provided by the Phildrew Ventures Fourth Fund and UBS Capital BV, whose investment was arranged by UBS Capital in New York. J Richard Jones, CEO of FKI Automotive, becomes chairman and CEO of the new group, and is investing equity in Trident along with seven members of his executive team. Gleacher NatWest, Goldman Sachs and Union Bank of Switzerland are arranging the debt finance. The total finance package includes additional facilities to fund further acquisitions.

Richard Jones said that, following the buyout, Trident will be well positioned to capitalise on consolidation of the global automotive supply base and added that the company plans to continue its worldwide investment programme to maintain the group’s “technical innovation, quality, leadership and competitiveness”.

Phildrew partner Ron Hobbs commented: “Under Dick Jones” leadership, Trident has achieved exceptional profit growth over the past five years. We are very excited by the opportunity to build a substantial new automotive group through further acquisitions by this management team.