KPS builds upon German dealflow

Following the acquisition of German automotive company The Bosch Group’s brakes business in January, KPS has purchased Australian automotive business Autocast and Forge.

KPS Capital Partners has bought Australia-based automotive products business Autocast and Forge as an add-on for existing portfolio company Chassis Brakes International. Chassis, previously a division of automotive company The Bosch Group, marked a significant expansion for KPS into Germany’s manufacturing sector.

Autocast manufactures brakes, axles, steering knuckles and other products for the automotive industry, all from a single facility in New South Wales. The company has just 100 employees but is Australia’s largest independent cast iron foundry focused on the automotive business, according to a statement.

The investment in Autocast comes almost a year after KPS purchased Chassis from The Bosch Group, one of three KPS transactions with a German-based company since the beginning of 2012. In May, the firm acquired the North American division of German iron castings company ThyssenKrupp Budd, which services the automotive, agriculture, construction, hydraulics and commercial vehicle markets, and in April, KPS invested in a division of bus and motor coach company Daimler.

Betting on

“We’re off to a really spectacular start in Germany,” KPS partner Michael Psaros told Private Equity International in a previous interview. “The deal flow out of Germany is unbelievable [and] we expect to continue to invest opportunistically and selectively [there].”
KPS opened a Frankfurt office – the firm’s only other office aside from its New York headquarters – two years ago.

KPS is currently investing from its third fund, a $2 billion vehicle. The firm closed Fund III in 2007 on $1.2 billion, but reopened fundraising for existing investors, eventually closing on an additional $800 million.

Psaros previously said KPS would likely not begin fundraising for its fourth fund until the spring of 2013.

Roughly 75 percent of KPS’ investments during its 20 year history have involved the purchase of non-core manufacturing or industrial businesses.

The firm was unavailable for comment at press time.