AEI’s American Pacific Keeps Rocketing

 American Pacific, a portfolio company of AE Industrial Partners (AEI), has made an investment in Frontier Aerospace.

Frontier is a developer and maker of liquid propulsion rocket engines and attitude control systems used in defense, earth orbit and deep space applications, as well as lunar landers. Frontier’s propulsion systems are currently slated for two lunar landers as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services mission. Frontier was founded in 2014 by President Jim McKinnon and is headquartered in Simi Valley, California.

“With American Pacific’s investment, we gain additional resources to take advantage of the tremendous interest in today’s space industry, combined with the added benefit of their deep defense industry expertise,” said Mr. McKinnon. “We also look forward to leveraging AEI’s relationships and intimate understanding of aerospace and defense’s unique challenges.”

American Pacific is a maker of specialty chemicals – including ammonium perchlorate – that are used in solid rocket motors for both space launches and military missiles. The company, led by CEO Hal Murdock, also makes halocarbon-based fire extinguishing agents – sold under the HALOTRON brand – used in the fire protection industry, and sodium azide which is used primarily as an intermediate in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals.

American Pacific was founded in Henderson, Nevada in 1955. American Pacific merged with publicly traded Pacific Engineering in 1982. The company was taken private by H.I.G. in 2014 and acquired by Huntsman Family Investments in 2015. AEI acquired American Pacific in February 2020. The investment in Frontier Aerospace by American Pacific is its first add-on investment since being acquired by AEI.

“With our investment in Frontier, we now have a strategic partner in next-generation, in-space liquid propulsion technology,” said Mr. Murdock. “Jim and the Frontier team bring a strong space heritage and have a solid reputation for innovation, and we are proud to work together to better serve our launch industry customers.”

“Guidance navigation and control and in-space propulsion are critical to the national defense and space industries, and we are pleased to have American Pacific partner with a company on the cutting edge of next-generation liquid propulsion technologies,” said Kirk Konert, a partner at AEI. “We’re excited about the possibilities that a partnership between two well-respected leaders can offer.”

Boca Raton-based AEI invests in the aerospace and defense, power generation, and specialty industrial sectors. Typical company targets will have from $50 million to $500 million of revenue. In July 2018, the firm held a final hard-cap closing of its second private equity fund, AE Industrial Partners Fund II LP, with $1.36 billion in commitments.

© 2021 Private Equity Professional | April 22, 2021

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