The Sterling Group Acquires Dexter Axle

The Sterling Group Acquires Dexter Axle

The Sterling Group has completed its acquisition of the Dexter Axle business from Tomkins Industries, a subsidiary of Pinafore Holdings B.V. This investment is Sterling’s fourth investment in its third fund, an $820 million fund raised in 2010. Dexter is the second business Sterling has acquired from Tomkins in the last fourteen months.

During its thirty year history, Sterling has sponsored the carve-out of 22 businesses from larger corporate parents, including multiple acquisitions from DuPont, British Petroleum and Tomkins. “We are excited about the opportunity to draw on our deep experience with corporate carve-outs to transition Dexter to a stand-alone business,” said Kevin Garland, Partner at The Sterling Group. “We look forward to partnering closely with management to achieve new levels of profitability and create value for all shareholders.”

The Dexter Axle business manufactures trailer axles, brake and suspension assemblies and related replacement parts and components. Its products are used in the recreational vehicle, military, cargo, horse, utility and equipment trailer industries. Dexter became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tomkins, an industrial conglomerate based in London, in 1990. Dexter was founded in 1960 and is based in Elkhart, IN (

“For over 50 years, Dexter has provided customers with the highest quality axles in the industry,” said Adam Dexter, CEO of Dexter. “The entire team is thrilled by Sterling’s support of our business, our culture, and our commitment to delivering the best customer service and product quality in the trailer running gear market.”

The Sterling Group targets controlling interests in basic manufacturing, industrial services and distribution companies that have enterprise values from $100 million to $500 million. Sterling has sponsored the buyout of 41 platform companies and numerous add-on acquisitions for a total transaction value greater than $9.5 billion. The firm was founded in 1982 and is located in Houston, TX (

The acquisition was financed with equity from Sterling Group Partners III, L.P. and several other co-investors. Senior debt financing was arranged by BNP Paribas and mezzanine debt was provided by Hancock Capital Management and Fifth Street Capital.

© 2012 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 11-2-12

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