KPS Capital Partners, LP (“KPS”) announced on 16the June that its portfolio company American & Efird Global, L.P. (“A&E”) will acquire substantially all of Gutermann Holding SE’s global industrial and consumer thread business (“Gutermann”). The transaction was approved by the stockholders of Gutermann on June 14, 2014, but is still subject to customary closing conditions. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
A&E is the largest U.S. manufacturer and the world’s second-largest manufacturer and distributor of premium quality industrial and consumer sewing thread, embroidery thread and technical textiles. A&E thread is used by producers of apparel, automotive components, home furnishings, medical supplies, footwear and certain industrial products. A&E owns or operates 22 manufacturing facilities and employs over 9,000 associates around the world directly or in partnership with joint venture partners. KPS acquired A&E from Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Inc. (now a subsidiary of The Kroger Co.) in November 2011.
Founded in 1864 and headquartered in Gutach, Germany, Gutermann is a leading European manufacturer and distributor of premium, high-quality sewing thread products for consumer and industrial applications. Gutermann’s products serve a variety of end-markets, including apparel, shoes, leather goods, work wear, home textiles and automotive end markets. Gutermann has a highly regarded brand name globally and a strong reputation among leading European apparel and non-apparel brands. Gutermann owns and operates four manufacturing facilities located in Germany, Spain, Mexico and India, and employs approximately 1,000 associates around the world.
Michael Psaros, a Managing Partner of KPS, said, “The transformation of A&E under KPS’ ownership is remarkable. A&E has exceeded all of our expectations for growth on a global scale by successfully expanding into adjacent geographies, products and end-markets. The strategic and industrial logic of A&E acquiring Gutermann is extraordinarily compelling as it will even further advance A&E’s industry-leading quality, customer service and innovation, delivered through an integrated and truly global manufacturing footprint. A&E’s conservative capital structure, absence of large unfunded pensions and other legacy obligations, coupled with its access to KPS’ material capital resources, positions the company to grow aggressively organically and through acquisition.”
Fred Jackson, Chief Executive Officer of A&E, said, “The acquisition of Gutermann is a critical strategic step in the growth of A&E. We are very impressed with Gutermann’s diverse product portfolio, customer base, premium quality and technical capabilities. Gutermann’s strong market position in Europe coupled with A&E’s worldwide manufacturing and distribution footprint and strong brand recognition in North America and Asia is an ideal combination. This acquisition furthers our commitment to support our customers globally with high-quality localized supply, technical resources, customer service support, and the highest environmental and social responsibility. A&E has made tremendous progress under KPS ownership and, with the strategic addition of Gutermann, I believe our future is even brighter.”
Completion of the transaction is expected on June 30, 2014 and is subject to customary closing conditions.
Hengeler Mueller is serving as legal counsel to KPS and A&E. Financing for the transaction will be provided by a syndicate of banks led by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc., along with Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, and PNC Capital Markets LLC acting as Joint Lead Arrangers.