published Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Equity group buying Waupaca foundry group

The ThyssenKrupp Waupaca plant in Etowah, Tenn.
The ThyssenKrupp Waupaca plant in Etowah, Tenn.
Ron Clayton

A New York private equity group is adding to its growing automotive business by buying the U.S. subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp AG, including the 250-employee foundry in Etowah, Tenn.

KPS Capital Partners LP announced Tuesday it has agreed to buy Waupaca and its half dozen U.S. iron foundries. The deal is expected to close next month, but terms of the sale were not disclosed.

ThyssenKrupp Waupaca President and CEO Gary Gigante said in a statement that the company agreed to the sale after KPS was able to provide a detailed strategy for the continuity and growth of ThyssenKrupp Waupaca's business.

"We wanted to be sure that Waupaca's next owner shared our commitment to its future and that it was 'business as usual' for our workers and customers the day after the deal is finalized," Gigante said.

ThyssenKrupp Waupaca Inc., the largest independent iron foundry company in the world, bought the former Budd Co. in 1978 and built a 270,000-square-foot foundry in Etowah in 2001.

Waupaca idled the Etowah plant amid the automotive industry slump in January 2010. But last year, Waupaca announced plans to reopen the plant, rehire 250 employees and add another 20,000-square-foot to the plant.

With three plants in Waupaca and one in Marinette, Wis., and facilities in Tell City, Ind., and Etowah, the company employs about 3,500 in the three states and had sales of nearly $1.48 billion in the last fiscal year.

Waupaca produces gray and ductile iron castings for automotive, commercial truck, agriculture, construction and other industrial markets.

David Shapiro, a KPS Managing Partner, said, Waupaca "possesses world-class assets, unrivaled scale and scope, industry leading quality and service, and a commitment to investing in state-of-the-art technology and process development."

KPS is the manager of the KPS Special Situations Funds, a family of private equity funds with over $2.8 billion of assets.

about Dave Flessner...

Dave Flessner is the business editor for the Times Free Press. A journalist for 35 years, Dave has been business editor and projects editor for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, city editor for The Chattanooga Times, business and county reporter for the Chattanooga Times, correspondent for the Lansing State Journal and Ingham County News in Michigan, staff writer for the Hastings Daily Tribune in Nebraska, and news director for WCBN-FM in Michigan. Dave, a native ...

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