Management

SMI, ROM Corp. combine businesses under acquisition

Posted on October 10, 2013

BELTON, Mo. — Specialty Manufacturing Inc. (SMI) and ROM Corp. have combined their businesses under an acquisition by equity firm The Sterling Group.

Headquartered in Belton, the newly combined company provides safety- and productivity-oriented components to the school bus, transit bus, emergency vehicle, truck and trailer, and utility vehicle markets.

ROM is a manufacturer of components used primarily in the emergency, military and refrigerated trailer industries, and SMI designs and manufactures products for the bus and rail sectors.

SMI and ROM were formerly owned but independently operated and financed by Century Park Capital Partners.

“ROM and SMI offer a powerful combination of two market-leading businesses that have consistently and reliably provided safety-related equipment to fleets in their respective industries for a collective 88 years,” said Gary Rosenthal, partner at The Sterling Group. “The combination of these two businesses allows us to draw on the strengths of the two legacy organizations. Sterling will work closely with management to further improve operations and take advantage of numerous strategic and acquisition-related opportunities.”

“We are pleased to partner with Sterling to bring these two companies together, deepen our product offerings and expand our ability to serve our customers,” said Joe Uebbing, former CEO of SMI and CEO of the new business. “This transaction will enable us to continue to develop the diversified specialty vehicle components platform that we created with Century Park. Under Century Park’s ownership, we have been able to complete six add-on acquisitions, strengthen our market positions, and diversify our product offerings and end markets.”

Jeff Hupke, former CEO of ROM and president of the new business, added, “Sterling has a history of successfully integrating numerous middle market acquisitions over many years, and we look forward to growing the combined business together.”

The acquisition was financed with equity from Sterling Group Partners III L.P., and the businesses were combined through its holding company, Safe Fleet Acquisition Corp. First lien financing was arranged by BNP Paribas, and second lien debt was provided by Oaktree Capital Mezzanine.

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