Baird sells SHE to RACO

UK-based Baird Capital Partners has doubled its money by selling cooling manufacturer SHE to RACO, an Italian automotive manufacturing group.

Baird Capital Partners Europe has sold UK-based automotive cooling system manufacturer Specialist Heat Exchangers to Italian automotive business Dynamic Technologies, part of the RACO group, for £9 million (€13 million, $18 million).

The sale has generated more than double the firm’s original investment in SHE, which it acquired from the company’s founders in 1997 via a management buy-in.

SHE’s systems cool various fluids used in the steering and transmission systems of high performance cars. In the twelve months to May 2006, SHE generated sales of £8.6 million and had earnings before tax of £1.6 million. The company employs 160 people and has a client base including Ford, General Motors, Aston Martin and Alfa Romeo.

Simon Havers, managing director of Baird, said: “SHE is one of the few remaining auto component manufacturers in the UK. Since we invested in SHE, the company has consistently improved its profitability and margins.”

Walter Zonta of RACO said: “SHE’s integration into our business provides us with access to manufacturing technologies unique to SHE, and enables us to expand our geographical presence and customer base.”

The sale follows Baird’s exits from synthetic brush manufacturer Hahl in January, and parking enforcement firm Traffic Support in November.

Baird is a mid-market investor, backing companies valued between £10 and £100 million. Baird has an investment team of 40 people in the US and Europe, plus a further 20 people operating in China and India, who help Baird portfolio companies expand their manufacturing presence in those regions. The firm recently closed a $300 million fund.