Fox Paine lines up Belgian auto deal

Fox Paine & Company, the San Francisco-based private equity firm, has announced an exclusive agreement to acquire VCST Industrial Products, a Belgian auto components business.

VCST Industrial Products, an automotive components company based in Belgium, has agreed to be acquired by Fox Paine & Company, the San Francisco-headquartered private equity firm. The terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

In a statement, Fox Paine said the acquisition would be completed through “an entity formed by Fox Paine Capital Fund II International”. Following the investment, which is expected to complete “in the next few weeks”, minority stakes will be held by investment firm Navas Investments and VCST’s current management.

Headquartered in Saint Truiden, VCST develops and produces highly engineered components for passenger cars and commercial vehicles, including engine and transmission gears, transmission shafts and aluminium valve blocks.     
  
The company also provides specialized heat and surface treatment services to the automotive and truck manufacturing industries. VCST operates five manufacturing facilities in three locations: Saint Truiden, Belgium, Reichenbach, Germany and Detroit, Michigan. 
 
Said Carlo Soors, managing director of VCST: “We are pleased to have found a strategic partner in Fox Paine who, together with VCST's management team and employees, will help VCST realize the full potential of our business, building on VCST’s excellent design and manufacturing capabilities, and strong customer relationships.”

Provided it completes, the deal will be Fox Paine’s second in Europe in quick succession. In May 2004, the firm teamed up with agricultural company Sygenta to acquire Advanta, formerly AstraZeneca’s seed business. Fox Paine committed €161 million ($192 million) to the deal.

Fox Paine, which has over $1.5 billion under management, was formed in 1997 by Saul Fox, a former general partner at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and Dexter Paine, a former general partner at Kohlberg & Co.