FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: KPS Funds
New York, NY (September 30, 2005) - KPS Special Situations Fund II (“KPS”) announced today that it has completed the acquisition of the North American automotive business (“Blue Water”) of Sarna Kunststoff Holding AG through a newly formed company, BWAS Holdings, Inc.
Blue Water (www.bwpi.com) is a leading manufacturer and designer of highly engineered molded thermoplastic components and assemblies for sale to automotive original equipment manufacturers and automotive suppliers. The Company’s products include air flow ducts, air exhausters, fender liners, functional trim and interior trim. The Company’s customers include General Motors, Daimler-Chrysler, Air International, Intier and Visteon. With approximately 1,300 employees, Blue Water, which is headquartered in Marysville, Michigan, operates six manufacturing facilities in Michigan and one manufacturing facility in Mexico.
KPS will invest substantial capital in Blue Water to fund working capital, capital expenditures, and numerous profit improvement initiatives.
Andy Ridgway, CEO of Blue Water, said, “We are very excited to return to our heritage as an independent company, under new ownership, well-capitalized and focused on the North American marketplace. We look forward to building the best-in-class company in the automotive plastics industry in partnership with KPS.”
“Our objective was to create a metals platform and a plastics platform in the automotive parts industry,” said David Shapiro, a Managing Principal of KPS. “Our creation of Hephaestus Holdings, Inc., which acquired Jernberg Industries, Inc. earlier this month, launched our metals platform. The creation of BWAS Holdings, Inc. launches our plastics platform in the industry.”
“We look forward to working with Andy and his team, most of whom joined Blue Water in the last twelve months, to improve the operating performance of the business and to grow the Company organically and through selective acquisitions. Rex Carlile, with over 25 years in the automotive supply industry, will be joining the team as Chief Restructuring Officer to assist in implementing various profit improvement initiatives.”
About KPS Special Situations Funds
KPS Special Situations Funds are a family of private equity funds with over $600 million of committed capital focused on constructive investing in restructurings, turnarounds and other special situations. KPS has created new companies to purchase operating assets out of bankruptcy; established stand-alone entities to operate divested assets; and recapitalized highly leveraged public and private companies. The KPS investment strategy targets companies with strong franchises that are experiencing operating and financial problems. KPS invests its capital concurrently with a turnaround plan predicated on cost reduction, capital investment, and capital availability. Typically, the KPS turnaround plan is accompanied by a financial restructuring of the company's liabilities. The KPS investment strategy and portfolio companies are described in detail at the firm’s website: www.kpsfund.com