The Sterling Group, a middle market private equity firm based in Houston, Texas, today (Nov. 1) announced that its affiliated investment fund, Sterling Group Partners III L.P., has completed the acquisition of the Dexter Axle business from Tomkins Industries Inc., a subsidiary of Pinafore Holdings B.V.
According to a press release, Dexter is the second business Sterling has acquired from Tomkins in the last fourteen months.
Dexter, based in Elkhart, Ind., is a leading designer and manufacturer of trailer axle, brake, and suspension assemblies and related replacement parts and components for use primarily in the industrial and utility trailer and RV markets in North America.
“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.”
During its 30-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.”
Dexter Axle, a supplier of axles, frames and related components in the utility trailer, recreational vehicle, heavy duty and manufactured housing markets, is reminding the industries it serves that in March it acquired the RV, cargo, and horse trailer door business of Philips Products, as well as its Ventline product offerings.
The transition of this business, along with the hiring of 112 Philips employees into Dexter, was completed May 4, according to a Dexter Axle press release Wednesday (June 10).
So those product lines were not affected by the June 3 announcement by Tomkins Industries, parent of Dexter Axle and Philips Products, that it was closing operations employing 675 in six states of Philips Products, which produces doors and windows for the manufactured housing and residential commercial markets.
“The addition of these quality product offerings were natural complements to markets that Dexter already serves, and where Dexter is well known for providing superior quality, service and support,” Dexter Axle President Adam Dexter explained.
“Dexter is committed to the markets it serves,” the Dexter Axle release states. “The management team at Dexter has an existing knowledge and extensive level of experience with door and venting products. Though employees of Dexter Axle are saddened by the impact the decision to close Philips Products will have on employees, Dexter’s plans to grow the recently acquired business from Philips is unaffected by the closing of Philips Products.