Harris Williams & Co. Advises R•O•M Corporation and Specialty Manufacturing, Inc. in their Sale to The Sterling Group

October 1, 2013

Harris Williams & Co., a preeminent middle market investment bank focused on the advisory needs of clients worldwide, announces the sale of R•O•M Corporation (ROM) and Specialty Manufacturing, Inc. (SMI) to The Sterling Group (Sterling) and management. Sterling is combining the businesses through its holding company, Safe Fleet Acquisition Corp.  Harris Williams & Co. acted as the exclusive advisor to ROM and SMI, portfolio companies independently operated and financed by Century Park Capital Partners (Century Park). The transaction closed on September 30, 2013 and was led by John Arendale, Frank Mountcastle, Jershon Jones and Mike Williams from the firm’s Richmond office.

“We are excited to partner with The Sterling Group as we embark on the next chapter of our growth phase. Our partners’ expertise and valuable business experience in manufacturing and distribution will be an important resource as we continue to develop and grow our business,” said Joe Uebbing, former CEO of SMI and newly appointed CEO of the combined business.

“Both ROM and SMI have built strong reputations for delivering high quality, safety oriented products to the specialty vehicle industry. This transaction provides the opportunity to combine the capabilities of these talented management teams and positions them to continue to grow in these attractive markets,” said John Arendale, a managing director and senior leader of Harris Williams & Co.’s Diversified Industrials Group. 

“This transaction is evidence of continued strong interest across transportation sectors and, specifically, in manufacturers of specialty vehicle components,” added Frank Mountcastle, a managing director and co-head of the firm’s Transportation & Logistics Group. “The resilience of the business model through the downturn and the continued recovery in the specialty vehicle market represents a compelling opportunity for investors.”

Headquartered in Belton, MO and founded in 1947, ROM is a premier manufacturer of value-added equipment for specialty vehicles, including fire trucks, trailers, utility vehicles and military vehicles. ROM specializes in building products that improve worker productivity and reduce workplace accidents. ROM product solutions are marketed to emergency responders, truck and trailer operators, food and pharmaceutical manufacturers, telecommunication and utility workers and other specialty vehicle occupations.

Headquartered in Pineville, NC and founded in the mid 1970’s, SMI is a leading supplier of bus safety products, interior components and lighting systems to the school, transit and shuttle bus markets. The company’s product offerings include roof hatches, interior lighting and panels, overhead parcel racks, stop arms, crossing arms, step treads, bumpers and a variety of other products.

Century Park is a Los Angeles-based private equity firm that partners with owners and managers to build successful companies. The firm specializes in facilitating owner liquidity and business expansion by providing $10 million to $40 million equity investments for minority and majority recapitalizations, growth financings, management-led buyouts and acquisition financings. Century Park seeks to support management in accelerating the growth curve of well-positioned companies by investing in infrastructure, internal growth initiatives and strategic acquisitions.

Founded in 1982, Sterling is a private equity investment firm that targets controlling interests in basic manufacturing, distribution and industrial services companies. Typical enterprise values of these companies range from $100 million to $500 million. Sterling has sponsored the buyout of 43 platform companies and numerous add-on acquisitions for a total transaction value of approximately $10.1 billion. Currently, Sterling has $1.2 billion of committed capital under management through three funds. Current portfolio companies include CST Industries, Universal Fiber Systems, Express, B&G Crane, Saxco International, Stackpole International, Liqui-Box, Dexter Axle and ROM-SMI (Safe Fleet).