Sterling Closes Highline Add-On

Highline Aftermarket, a portfolio company of The Sterling Group, has acquired the liquids division (Liquids) of Camco Manufacturing.

Liquids is a nationwide manufacturer of windshield wash, recreational vehicle antifreeze, and diesel exhaust fluid, including private label products, with plants in Leominster, MA; Reidsville, NC; Elkhart, IN; and Albany, OR.  The addition of these four plants to Highline represents a substantial increase in the company’s manufacturing capacity.

Memphis-headquartered Highline Aftermarket is a manufacturer and distributor of packaged automotive chemicals, lubricants, and parts, which it sells to independent distributors, quick lube shops, jobbers, wholesalers, and specialty retailers.

The company was formed by The Sterling Group through its third fund in April 2016 when it acquired DYK Automotive and Auto Aftermarket Holdings Corporation.

Camco, the seller of Liquids, is a manufacturer of over 4,000 products used in the camping, recreational vehicle, all-terrain vehicle, utility task vehicle, and marine sectors. The privately held company was founded in 1966 by CEO Don Caine and is headquartered in Greensboro, NC.

“Over 50 years, the Caine family has built a fantastic liquids business at Camco, with a reputation for high-quality products and exceptional customer service,” said Darcy Curran, CEO of Highline Aftermarket. “We are excited to combine the strengths of the Liquids business with Highline’s 7 plants and 14 distribution centers to better serve customers nationwide. This combination is a perfect strategic fit and enables Highline’s growth ambitions.”

The buy of Liquids is the fourth add-on acquisition for Highline under Sterling’s ownership. The three earlier buys were:

  • Service Champ, a specialty distributor of automotive aftermarket maintenance parts and accessories to quick lube, general repair, and car wash shops. The company distributes more than 4,500 different products, many under its own brands, including oil and air filters, wiper blades, chemicals, and tools. Service Champ is based north of Philadelphia in Chalfont, PA. The buy of Service Champ closed in March 2017.
  • Levin’s Auto Supply, a Sacramento-based supplier of automotive aftermarket products to retailers and automotive parts stores. The buy of Levin’s closed in January 2018.
  • South/Win, a private label and contract manufacturer of automotive fluids based in Greensboro, NC. South/Win’s products are sold under a range of brands including Rain-X, Windex, Blue Coral, and Krystal Kleer. The buy of South/Win closed in May 2018.

Highline has now more than doubled in size under Sterling ownership and it continues to pursue both organic growth and additional add-on acquisitions. Sterling now considers Highline to be the largest nationwide network for producing and distributing liquids and chemicals for the automotive, recreational vehicle, and marine markets.

Houston-based The Sterling Group invests in manufacturing, industrial services and distribution companies that have enterprise values from $100 million to $750 million.  The firm emphasizes an operational approach in partnership with management teams to grow and improve the companies it acquires. Since its founding in 1982, The Sterling Group has sponsored the buyout of 55 platform companies and numerous add-on acquisitions with a total transaction value of over $10 billion.

© 2019 Private Equity Professional | November 13, 2019

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