KPS Building Billion Dollar Battery Giant

C&D Technologies, a portfolio company of KPS Capital Partners since August 2017, has agreed to acquire Trojan Battery Company from Charlesbank Capital Partners. Charlesbank acquired Trojan in June 2013. The combination of C&D and Trojan will result in a company with more than $1 billion in annual revenue.

Trojan is a maker of deep-cycle batteries for motive and stationary applications such as golf and utility vehicles, renewable energy, transportation, floor machines, aerial work platforms, marine, and recreational vehicles. A deep-cycle battery is designed to be regularly deeply discharged using most of its capacity. In contrast, starter batteries (e.g. most automotive batteries) are designed to deliver short, high-current bursts for cranking the engine, thus frequently discharging only a small part of their capacity.

Trojan’s operations include four manufacturing plants in California and Georgia, two research and development centers, and international offices located in Europe, the United Arab Emirates and Asia. The company, led by CEO Neil Thomas, was founded in 1925 and is headquartered near Los Angeles in Santa Fe Springs, CA (www.trojanbattery.com).

C&D manufactures and services industrial lead-acid batteries and battery systems for the storage and transmission of electrical power, primarily for standby power applications. The company’s products and services are used in the utility, telecommunications, uninterruptible power supply, cable, broadband, and renewable energy markets.  C&D is headquartered near Philadelphia in Blue Bell, PA and has manufacturing facilities in Attica, IN (near Indianapolis); Milwaukee, WI; Reynosa, Mexico; and Shanghai, China. The company is led by its CEO Armand Lauzon and has approximately 1,400 employees (www.cdtechno.com).

“KPS acquired C&D to serve as a platform in the global energy storage industry, and the industrial logic of combining C&D and Trojan is extremely compelling,” said David Shapiro, a Managing Partner of KPS. “Trojan is an iconic brand name and we look forward to accelerating its growth by leveraging C&D’s global reach and strong technological capabilities.  We look forward to working closely with the management team and employees of C&D and Trojan to build the global leader in the energy storage industry.”

KPS Capital Partners is the manager of the KPS Special Situations Funds, a group of private equity funds with approximately $5.4 billion of assets under management that invests in restructurings, turnarounds and other special situations. KPS targets manufacturing and industrial companies that are going through a period of transition or experiencing operating or financial difficulties. The firm’s portfolio companies have aggregate annual revenues of approximately $5.5 billion, operate 110 manufacturing plants in 27 countries, and employ over 21,000 people worldwide. KPS Capital Partners is headquartered in New York (www.kpsfund.com).

Charlesbank invests from $50 million to $250 million in management-led buyouts and growth capital financings in companies with enterprise values of $150 million to $1.5 billion. Sectors of interest include consumer, industrial, industrial services and distribution, TMT and business services. In October 2017, the firm held a final closing of Charlesbank Equity Fund IX at its hard cap of $2.75 billion. The firm has offices in Boston and New York (www.charlesbank.com).

The closing of C&D’s buy of Trojan is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

© 2018 Private Equity Professional | November 7, 2018

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