AUBURN HILLS, Mich.—Private equity firm Littlejohn & Co. L.L.C. has completed the sale of Henniges Automotive Inc. to two partners.
Aviation Industry Corp. (AVIC) of China, a Chinese state-owned aerospace and defense company, and BHR—a Sino-U.S. investment firm engaged in cross border and alternative investments—will combine to pay $600 million for Henniges and structure the transaction as a joint acquisition, according to a Sept. 15 BHR news release. AVIC will own 51 percent and BHR the remaining 49 percent.
Henniges CEO Douglas DelGrosso said that Henniges does not anticipate any significant changes to the firm's employment or management team. BHR said in its release it is confident in the potential for the growth of Henniges under the continued management of its current team with the new backing of AVIC and BHR.
Littlejohn acquired Henniges in 2010, and in the years since Henniges has executed several strategic acquisitions and alliances to solidify the firm's position as a supplier of premium sealing solutions.
Henniges said Littlejohn helped the firm secure nearly $500 million in new business and drive operational improvements throughout the organization during the last three years. Henniges reported $824.8 million in revenue for 2014 compared to $611 million in 2011.
“Littlejohn historically holds companies for about a five-year period,” DelGrosso said. “They typically look for the right environment to maximize their return on their investment. I think they felt the automotive market is strong right now and that the company is performing well. When you think about it from their perspective, it certainly was an opportune time to market the company.”
DelGrosso said AVIC can provide Henniges avenues to the domestic Chinese automotive market, which up until recently has not been a market Henniges has pursued aggressively. Henniges adds to AVIC's automotive portfolio, which also includes Saginaw, Mich.-based Nexteer Automotive, a supplier of steering and driveline acquired by AVIC in 2011.
BHR said its set of international stakeholders reflect the financial prowess of China's largest financial institutions—including Bank of China International, Bohai Industrial Investment Fund, China Development Bank Capital, Ample Harvest and the networks and cross-border excellence of RSB L.L.C. and Thronton Group L.L.C.
“We're excited with the new ownership,” said Boris Gavric, vice president of global sales and marketing for Henniges. “I think they're going to provide us with a lot of assistance to continue growing in the positive trajectory that we've had so far.”