For Immediate Release
For additional information, contact:
Gordon Pan, Partner
Baird Capital Partners
Angela Pittman, Public Relations Coordinator
Robert W. Baird & Co., Incorporated
BCP Leverages Asian Expertise to Jointly Acquire Leading Automotive Aftermarket Manufacturer
CHICAGO, January 10, 2005 – Baird Capital Partners (BCP), the U.S. private equity affiliate of Robert W. Baird & Co. (Baird), has acquired Qualitor, Inc. (Qualitor) alongside Thayer Capital Partners. Qualitor is a leading diversified manufacturer of aftermarket parts for the automotive and heavy duty truck and trailer industries. From seven domestic production facilities, Qualitor provides an array of brake components, windshield wiper products, engine control devices and heavy duty truck parts.
Thayer Capital Partners is the lead equity sponsor and majority owner with Baird Capital Partners playing an active and meaningful co-investor role in the transaction. In addition, Baird Capital Partners is taking the lead role in assisting Qualitor management in developing the Company’s Asia Strategy. American Capital Strategies Ltd. (Nasdaq: ACAS) participated in the transaction by providing subordinated debt financing as well as an equity investment. Qualitor’s senior management also made a significant equity investment. Antares Capital Corporation led a syndicate of lenders completing the capital structure by providing senior debt financing.
“Qualitor is uniquely positioned as a leading supplier in the automotive aftermarket,” said Gordon Pan, a Partner with Baird Capital Partners. “By producing consumable products with predictable replacement cycles for diversified industries, Qualitor is positioned to maintain its leading market share and capitalize on the accelerating trends of the automotive aftermarket. In addition, the Company has the ability to generate additional value by executing on an Asia strategy designed by management in conjunction with Baird Capital Partners.”
Baird Capital Partners has a team of twenty operating professionals on the ground in Asia to help evaluate, develop and execute the appropriate Asia strategy on behalf of its U.S. portfolio companies. Baird Capital Partners is actively seeking investments in U.S. middle-market companies that can benefit from achieving cost savings or revenue enhancements through the execution of an Asia strategy. Qualitor was an ideal investment opportunity for Baird Capital Partners because of its solid market position within the industrial/automotive sector combined with its significant opportunities to drive cost savings and revenue growth through increased product sourcing and the establishment of manufacturing capabilities in Asia.
“We are excited to partner with Baird Capital Partners and Thayer Capital Partners as we continue to build our business,” said Kevin Baird, CEO of Qualitor. “Baird Capital Partners’ Asian sourcing and manufacturing expertise combined with Thayer Capital Partners’ automotive expertise should add significant value to our company as we execute on our strategic plan.”
About Qualitor, Inc.
Founded in 1999, Southfield, Mich.- based Qualitor manufactures application-specific wear products, including brake components, wiper blades, engine control devices and heavy duty truck parts. In addition to its headquarters, Qualitor has seven manufacturing and distribution facilities in Connecticut, Florida, Michigan and Ohio, and employs nearly 800 people. Qualitor has a leading domestic market share in the aftermarket for brake components and engine controls while holding a solid position in the windshield wiper market. For more information about Qualitor’s comprehensive line of automotive and heavy duty aftermarket products please visit www.qualitorinc.com.
About Baird Global Private Equity
With more than 40 investment professionals in the United States and Europe, Baird’s global private equity business has raised and managed over $1 billion in capital. Baird Capital Partners (BCP) provides late-stage growth capital or change-of-control capital to U.S.-based, middle-market companies in the areas of Business Services, Industrial Products and Healthcare/Life Sciences. Baird Venture Partners (BVP) makes venture capital investments in early- to growth-stage companies in three industry sectors: Business Services, Healthcare/Life Sciences and Applied Technology. Granville Baird Capital Partners (GBCP) is a long-established private equity manager targeting mid-market growth companies in the UK and Germany with a focus on the Business Services, Healthcare, Industrial Products & Services and Technology sectors. The group’s investments are supported by Baird’s full range of financial advice, operating expertise and industry research, providing a unique full-service approach to the entire private equity investment process. Baird Capital Partners’ U.S. operations are also supported by an operating subsidiary in Asia. For more information, please visit Baird’s Private Equity Web site at www.bairdprivateequity.com.
Baird, established in 1919, is an employee-owned international wealth management, capital markets, private equity and asset management firm with offices in the United States, Europe and Asia. Baird’s principal operating subsidiaries are Robert W. Baird & Co. in the United States and Robert W. Baird Group Ltd. in Europe. Baird also has an operating subsidiary in Asia supporting Baird’s U.S. private equity operations.
Committed to being a great place to work, in 2004 Robert W. Baird & Co. was included on FORTUNE magazine’s annual list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For.” Robert W. Baird & Co. is a member of the New York Stock Exchange and other principal exchanges and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). Robert W. Baird Ltd., a member of the London Stock Exchange, and Granville Baird Capital Partners Ltd. are authorized and regulated in the United Kingdom by the Financial Services Authority. For more information, please visit Baird’s Web site at www.rwbaird.com.