Graham Partners has announced that its portfolio company LINE-X has acquired Ground Effects, Ltd., a designer and manufacturer of automotive accessories and a provider of vehicle upfit services. The acquisition of Ground Effects, which triples LINE-X’s sales, was 100% funded through cash and new senior debt facilities at LINE-X along with a seller note.
Ground Effects is a designer and manufacturer of interior and exterior automotive accessories including step bars and bed rails. The company is also a provider of upfit services to automotive OEMs and dealerships in the United States and Canada. GFX’s products are utilized on over 40 vehicle platforms. The company is based in Windsor, Ontario (www.gfxaftermarket.com).
LINE-X is a developer and marketer of protective coatings used in branded spray-on pick-up truck bedliners, as well as other commercial and industrial coatings. LINE-X also operates an industrial coatings division that offers anti-corrosion and protection for industrial customers and blast protection products for government agencies. The company is based in Huntsville, AL (www.linex.com).
The combination of LINE-X and Ground Effects creates the opportunity to realize significant synergies, including having GFX manufacture automotive accessories that can be installed by LINE-X’s network of 425 plus domestic and Canadian franchisees, as well as by creating customized vehicle upfit packages that LINE-X franchisees can sell and install in the aftermarket. “We couldn’t imagine a more exciting combination. LINE-X has built its reputation as the leader in the automotive aftermarket, and has a franchise base that stands ready to offer new products to their existing customers. GFX sales are up over 2.5x since 2008 and GFX has won coveted awards from virtually all of the OEM truck manufacturers that LINE-X serves in the aftermarket. We look forward to seeing these two businesses work together to deliver industry leading products across the entire spectrum of potential customers,” said Josh Wilson, Managing Principal at Graham Partners.
Graham Partners is a lower middle market industrial private equity firm with over $1.5 billion under management. Graham Partners is sponsored by the privately held Graham Group of York, PA, an industrial and investment concern with interests in plastics, packaging, machinery, building products and outsource manufacturing. Graham Partners seeks to acquire industrial companies with revenues between $30 million and $500 million that participate in manufacturing niches where it can leverage its combination of operating resources and financial expertise. The firm is located in Philadelphia, PA (www.grahampartners.net).