Liberty Hall Sells AIM to Sekisui Chemical

Liberty Hall Capital Partners has agreed to sell AIM Aerospace, a supplier of composite parts used in the commercial aerospace industry, to Sekisui Chemical Group for $510 million in cash. Liberty Hall acquired AIM in January 2016 for $200 million in partnership with BlackRock Private Equity Partners and Northwestern Mutual Capital.

AIM Aerospace is a Tier II supplier of composite ducting, sub-structural and interiors parts for the commercial aerospace industry.  Products include primary structures (wing components and engine cowls), secondary structures (stow bib brackets and panel assemblies), interior structures (seating, closets and dividers, flight deck doors, and lavatories), environmental control systems (ducting), inlet and exhaust systems, fan cowl components (fan blade spacers, acoustic liners, brackets and bushings), and nacelles (blocker doors, brackets and clips). AIM’s revenues in fiscal 2018 were $178 million.

Customers of AIM include Boeing, Kawasaki, Fuji Heavy Industries, Spirit AeroSystems, GE Aviation, Rockwell Collins, UTC Aerospace Systems, and Gulfstream among others. The company has four facilities in Renton, WA (122,000 sq. ft.); Auburn, WA (43,200 sq. ft.); Sumner, WA (100,000 sq. ft.); and Orange City, IA (100,000 sq. ft.). AIM Aerospace, led by CEO Daniele Cagnatel, has more than 1,000 employees and is headquartered south of Seattle in Renton, WA (www.aim-aerospace.com).

In February 2017, Liberty Hall added-on to AIM with the buy of Quatro Composites, a supplier of aerospace, defense, medical, and industrial composite components based in Orange City, IA (www.quatrocomposites.com). Quatro supplies several of top aerospace platforms, including the Boeing 787, Gulfstream G650 and Insitu X300, and Quatro’s largest customers include Boeing, Gulfstream, Insitu and United Technologies.

“AIM Aerospace is an integrated and diversified composite supplier with an innovative approach and proven track record on delivering a range of full-service solutions for the commercial and military aircraft and engine markets,” said Rowan Taylor, Liberty Hall’s founding and managing partner.  “Over the past three years through our partnership with AIM Aerospace, the company has expanded its capabilities, diversified its customer base and extended its geographic reach.  AIM Aerospace is now leading the way in the implementation of advanced thermoplastics and intelligent automation for aerospace in North America.  As demand for composite components continues to increase, we are pleased that AIM Aerospace is well-positioned to deliver a new generation of complex products to the industry.  We are very proud to transfer leadership to Sekisui to oversee the next chapter in AIM Aerospace’s expansion.”

“With the support of Liberty Hall, AIM Aerospace has grown stronger in the past three years by extending its leadership position in manufacturing of complex thermoplastic aerospace components, growing its customer base, and entering the engine composites segment of the market,” said Taylor Catarozoli, a partner at Liberty Hall. “AIM Aerospace has demonstrated an ability to deliver innovative solutions to complex problems as one integrated platform, and we applaud the company’s leadership, led by Daniele Cagnatel, for their work in transforming the company and creating new opportunities.”

Liberty Hall invests exclusively in businesses serving the aerospace and defense industry and complementary industrial end markets. The firm was founded in July 2011 and is headquartered in New York (www.libertyhallcapital.com).

Sekisui Chemical (OTCMKTS: SKSUF), the buyer of AIM, is a manufacturer of high-performance plastics for the medical, automotive, and information technology industries; and also provides residential housing construction. The buy of AIM is the largest acquisition ever made by Sekisui Chemical and will expand the company’s presence in the carbon fiber composites market and will increase sales of its thermoplastic resin materials for aircraft components. The company was founded in 1947 and is headquartered in Osaka, Japan (www.sekisuichemical.com).

Lincoln International was the financial advisor to Liberty Hall.

Closing of this transaction is expected by the end of the fourth quarter of 2019.

© 2019 Private Equity Professional | June 17, 2019

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