American Securities repurchases manufacturer

The New York-based firm has invested in insulation product-maker Unifrax, a company American Securities acquired in 2003 and exited in 2006.

American Securities has purchased manufacturing business Unifrax for the second time.

The New York-based firm has invested an undisclosed amount in the company, which it previously held for three years before selling in 2006.  Unifrax makes ceramic fiber insulation products used in automobiles, fire protection and industrial applications.

“Increasing emissions regulations and other fire protection regulations both in domestic and emerging markets have continued to drive increased demand for [Unifrax's] products,” American Securities managing director Marc Saiontz told Private Equity International. “Those were driving the demand for the business back when we first owned it, but they have increased over time and will continue to drive demand for their products.” 

American Securities purchased the company from private equity firm AEA Investors, using capital from American Securities VI, which is targeting $3 billion. The firm had raised $2.87 billion as of 17 October, according to documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Increasing emissions regulations and other fire protection regulations both in domestic and emerging markets have continued to drive increased demand for [Unifrax's] products

Marc Saiontz

American Securities typically invests $100 million to $1 billion in mid-market companies without a sector or regional focus, according to its website.

While private equity firms rarely invest in the same company twice, at least two businesses have secured private equity investment from firms for the second time in the past 12 months. Last November, TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners purchased J. Crew for approximately $3 billion. TPG had originally bought J. Crew for $500 million in 1997 before taking it public in 2006.

In March of this year, investment firm Hutton Collins contributed a combination of mezzanine and equity financing to Duke Street’s acquisition of Japanese noodle bar chain wagamama, a business in which Hutton Collins had previously invested.

This summer, affiliate American Securities Opportunities Fund closed its second vehicle on $753 million, surpassing its original $500 million target. The distressed fund focuses on public and private companies in distress “or trading at distressed levels due to deterioration in operating performance or anticipated liquidity problems”, the firm said in a statement.

American Securities bills itself as one of the oldest private equity firms in existence. The firm started out in 1947 as a family office investment shop founded by William Rosenwald, an heir to the Sears, Roebuck fortune. The firm did “bootstrap” investments that eventually came to be known as leveraged buyouts, according to its website.