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Luminator Technology Group, the Audax Group-backed manufacturer of vehicle lighting and passenger communication systems, retained Robert W. Baird to explore a sale, said two sources briefed on the matter.
The Plano, Texas-based company, which services the bus, rail and aerospace industries, generates around USD 50m of EBITDA, according to both sources.
Both sources said Luminator was expected to launch its process following the sale of Missouri-based Safe Fleet, which provides safety and productivity-oriented components, including lighting, to the emergency vehicle, truck and trailer, utility vehicle, school bus and transit bus end markets.
In January, Oak Hill Capital Partners announced an agreement to acquire Safe Fleet from The Sterling Group for an undisclosed sum. The deal was completed on 1 February.
Luminator has been working on “internal initiatives” aimed at generating earnings before launching a sale, said one of the sources. The same source said the company is anticipating it will fetch a high valuation, perhaps north of 11x EBITDA.
Safe Fleet was reported by this news service to generate around USD 80m EBITDA and to have been angling for 11x the same metric.
Luminator is expected to draw robust private equity interest, said one of the sources, including Oak Hill-backed Safe Fleet as a prospective buyer of the asset. He suggested Pennsylvania-based freight rail product supplier Wabtec [NYSE:WAB] could show interest in Luminator for its rail industry presence, though it would unlikely be interested in the company’s aerospace segment.
Audax acquired Luminator in 2014 for an undisclosed sum. Since then, the company made multiple acquisitions including Canada’s Axion Technologies; Swiss companies Gorba and Invertag; BMG MIS, an LCD information systems manufacturer; and, most recently, Apollo Video Technology in 2017.
Robert W. Baird advised Luminator on the Audax deal. Kirkland & Ellis served as legal counsel to Audax, while GE Capital, BNP Paribas Securities and American Capital provided financing.
Luminator, Audax and Baird did not return calls seeking comment.
by Claudia Montoto in Chicago and Sam Weisberg in New York
As seen in the Mergermarket newsletter, an Acuris company, on 12/03/2018