Advantage Partners to purchase GST AutoLeather9 April 2008
Advantage Partners, an Asia-based private equity firm, have announced that the funds that it services have entered into an agreement to acquire 100% of GST AutoLeather Inc (GST), a leading global supplier of automotive leather, from SILLC Holdings. GST are a premier global provider of leather upholstery for automotive seating and trim and supplies many of the world's major automotive original equipment manufacturers, including Toyota, Honda, General Motors, Chrysler, Ford, Volkswagen, SAIC, and Nanjing, among others.
their professionalism and knowledge of our industry. It is evident that Advantage Partners and the management team of GST share the same vision of building the world's best automotive leather company. Advantage Partners' resources will allow GST to realise its growth potential, while maintaining its core principle of providing maximum value to our customers.' Advantage Partners plan to support the company's market expansion strategies, including their pursuit of the fast growing China automotive market. ‘We believe GST AutoLeather has significant growth potential in the key markets in which it currently competes, as well as in newer markets such as China and the rest of Asia. We look forward to supporting management in executing its growth strategy globally', said Richard L Folsom, representative partner at Advantage Partners. Advantage Partners, which started providing services for the first buy-out fund in Japan in 1997, are known as a hands-on partner to their portfolio companies. Advantage recently opened their first office outside Japan in Hong Kong. Goldman Sachs Japan Co Ltd acted as financial adviser to Advantage Partners. Lazard Freres & Co acted as financial advisor to SILLC Holdings. 'The proximity of this facility to our customers enables us to collaborate with them on joint projects', said Hiller. ‘The centre in Livonia is ideally positioned less than 30 minutes from our auto clients in Detroit, enabling us to further customise leather to suit their needs.' GST AutoLeather (http://www.gstautoleather.com/) are headquartered in Southfield, Michigan, and are suppliers of GST have provided premium quality automotive leather interiors for the world's leading automakers and suppliers for more than 70 years. With a global network of sales, customer service, and manufacturing operations in Mexico and China, GST are a market leader in automotive leather in North America, Japan, and China. GST are well regarded for their customer-centric approach, rigourous quality standards and integrated ability to design, manufacture and supply top quality automotive leather worldwide. On announcing the transaction, Dennis Hiller, CEO of GST, said: ‘It has been a pleasure to work with the senior management team of Advantage Partners. I have been truly impressed with some of the world's finest automotive leather interior trim. GST have operations and strategic alliances in the United States, Mexico, Dominican Republic, South America, and China. Many of the industry's most prestigious automotive companies turn to GST for innovation, customer service, quality, and dependability. GST's engineers and technical experts work hand-in-hand with many of the world's original equipment and Tier I manufacturers to conceive, design, and develop new generations of leather for the global automotive market. In support of their expansion plans and global growth strategy, GST manage sales operations in various global markets. SILLC Holdings are a holding company that was formed in March 2000 to acquire the diversified business segment of US Industries Inc. The diversified business segment consisted of eleven wholly owned businesses including GST. Advantage Partners (http://www.advantagegroup.co.jp/) are a private equity firm founded in 1992. The firm services several funds of an aggregated amount exceeding US$$3.4 billion, with a focus on investing in acquisitions, buy-outs, buy-ins, and other private equity opportunities around the globe. Advantage Partners started providing services for the first buy-out fund in Japan in 1997 and are pioneers in the private equity industry in Japan. In order to achieve this, Advantage Partners place great importance on supporting operational improvement and strategic planning, based upon extensive business consulting experience. Advantage Partners are based in Tokyo, Japan, and recently opened their first international office in Hong Kong.