First Atlantic acquires Prestolite Electric

The New York middle-market firm buys the global manufacturer and distributor of alternators and starter motors from San Francisco private equity group Genstar Capital.

New York-based middle-market buyout firm First Atlantic Capital has agreed to purchase Prestolite Electric Holding from San Francisco-based private equity firm Genstar Capital.


Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to be completed next month.


Prestolite manufactures alternators and starter motors for heavy-duty, military and industrial vehicles, including trucks and buses. The company has operations in the US, UK, Argentina and China. Last year, Prestolite reported approximately $180 million in revenues.


According to First Atlantic principal Noel Wilens, the firm was attracted by the business’s strong position in the niche market. “We bought at the right time in the cycle… Prestolite has a strong position both in the after-market and original equipment sectors, and the after-market is showing signs of a big recovery.”


Wilens said the firm expects to grow the company through internal growth and acquisitions and is hoping to use its large presence in China and Argentina to expand the business further.


First Atlantic Capital was founded in 1989 and acquires both public and private companies in the middle market, with investments ranging between $100 million and $300 million. In 2000, the fund closed Atlantic Equity Partners III on $400 million. The firm usually looks for companies in the manufacturing, specialty distribution and specialty retail markets. Its portfolio includes packaging company Ranpak and golf equipment specialist Golfsmith.