MiddleGround Invests in the Future of Automotive
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MiddleGround Invests in the Future of Automotive

Plasman is the third platform investment MiddleGround has made under a strategy to invest in powertrain electrification, vehicle light-weighting, and connected and autonomous vehicles

Plasman’s products include bumpers and fascia, grilles, exterior trim and subsystem components

SOURCE: Plasman

MiddleGround Capital has purchased Plasman Holdings, a manufacturer of automotive exterior products and systems, from Insight Equity.

Plasman’s products include bumpers and fascia, grilles, exterior trim and subsystem components. The company’s capabilities include tooling, injection molding, painting and assembly. Plasman has 25 locations in North America, Europe and Asia and maintains headquarters near Detroit in Windsor, Canada, and west of Stockholm in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Plasman, originally Plasman Group, has supplied automotive components to OEMs, contract manufacturers and distributors since 1978. Insight Equity acquired the company in December 2011 and completed three add-on acquisitions for the business over its ownership term; Sweden-based Plastal Industri (2016), Minnesota-based Thermotech (2015), and Ohio-based A-Brite Plating Company (2014).

“The team at MiddleGround are proven industry veterans with a stable of operating professionals that bring with them tremendous operations expertise, a complementary corporate culture and a desire to move the company forward,” said Plasman CEO David Wiskel. “MiddleGround’s vision for the future of the automotive industry align with the challenges that we face every day. Their integrity, values and forward-thinking mindset to continually improve our operations is a partnership that excites me. I know the future is bright for Plasman with our proven ability to grow with our customers and expand into new product markets and geographies.”

In August 2021, MiddleGround held a final oversubscribed close of its second flagship fund, MiddleGround Partners II LP, with $800 million of capital; and a hardcap close of its Mobility Opportunity Fund LP (MOF) at $250 million. The MOF is a dedicated overflow fund that invests in automotive companies that are active with powertrain electrification, vehicle light-weighting, and connected and autonomous vehicles.

The buy of Plasman is the third platform investment MiddleGround has made under its mobility strategy. Earlier this month, MiddleGround’s portfolio company Shiloh Industries – an Ohio-based designer and manufacturer of light-weighting automotive components using aluminum, magnesium and steel – acquired two automotive facilities, located in Michigan and Indiana, from Benteler International. This transaction, which provides Shiloh with complementary hot forming and welding capabilities, was MiddleGround’s first add-on investment to Shiloh since taking the company private in November 2020.

“We are in unprecedented times in the automotive industry today. Major disruptions, COVID-19 and a global semiconductor shortage are impacting the supply chain for automobiles at a time when the industry is transforming with advancements in technology,” said John Stewart, a founding partner of MiddleGround. “The entire supply chain is grappling with funding needs to fuel the continued development of new products and new technology to keep up with consumer demands, and we are thrilled to add a market leader in the automotive exterior plastics space to our growing portfolio and to partner with management in this next stage of the company’s growth. Plastic and composite products play an important role in reducing the weight of vehicles which improves fuel economy in conventional ICE vehicles and extends range for electric vehicles. Plasman’s ability to add value through assembly and painting make the company a critical player in their customers’ supply chain.”

“The Plasman management team is the company’s strongest asset. Under the leadership of David Wiskel, the company has transformed itself from an injection molding business to a full-service solutions provider equipped to meet the growing needs of customers for all exterior vehicle products and systems. We are excited to help David expand and grow the capabilities of the business,” said Justin Steil, a managing director at MiddleGround.

MiddleGround makes control equity investments from $25 million to $65 million in North American-based business-to-business companies in the industrial and specialty distribution sectors that have enterprise values of up to $200 million. The Lexington, Kentucky-based firm was formed in May of 2018 by former Monomoy Capital professionals John Stewart, Lauren Mulholland and Scot Duncan.

Insight Equity makes control investments in middle-market, asset-intensive companies across a range of industries and specializes in partnering with companies in complex and challenging situations, including corporate divestitures, aggressive growth opportunities, restructurings, and transitions from private family ownership. The firm is headquartered near Dallas in Southlake, Texas.

© 2021 Private Equity Professional | October 28, 2021

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