Ripplewood’s Asahi Tec to acquire rival US auto-parts supplier

Asahi Tec Corporation, a Japanese auto parts marker controlled by US buyout firm Ripplewood, is acquiring its US rival in a $1.2 billion transaction.

Asahi Tec Corporation, a Japanese listed chassis and power-train component maker in which Ripplewood’s Belgian holding company RHJ International holds a 63 percent stake, is acquiring Metaldyne Corp, a US rival for $1.2 billion (€933 million).

The transaction, which includes the refinancing of Metaldyne’s existing debt, will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2006, according to a statement. Metaldyne will become a subsidiary of Asahi Tec under the cash-out merger.

Metaldyne is owned by a group of investors led by US-based Heartland Industrial Partners and Credit Suisse Private Equity.

RHJ International and co-investors Mitsui & Co, a Japanese business group, and CHUO Mitsui Growth Capital Investment LP have agreed to invest $188 million in Asahi Tec, of which $175 million will be used for reducing Metaldyne’s debt. Ripplewood’s total net commitment to the transaction is equal to $75 million in cash, the firm said in a separate statement.

RHJI will remain the largest shareholder of Asahi Tec with a 38.3 percent stake after the acquisition. Mitsui & Co will hold 21.1 percent, and Heartland, 14 percent.

The transaction is aimed at expanding Asahi’s global presence and product range. The Japanese auto parts maker also has operations in Thailand and China, while Metaldyne has operations in North America, Europe, Korea, China, and is growing in India and Brazil.