The Watermill Group private equity firm has acquired Experi-Metal Inc., provider of metal-formed parts and assemblies to automakers, to complement a similar supplier it purchased in 2015.
Experi-Metal of Sterling Heights, Michigan, provides prototyping and complex metal-formed parts—formed by bending and reshaping metal—for customers in the auto and aerospace industries. Quality Metalcraft, the Livonia, Michigan, company acquired by Watermill about one year ago, is a niche provider of highly engineered metal-formed assemblies used by automobile, aerospace and defense, heavy trucking and construction equipment manufacturers.
Watermill Group, based in Lexington, Massachusetts, targets companies with annual revenues of $50 million to $500 million in the areas of manufacturing, value-added distribution and business services. Operating Experi-Metal and Quality Metalcraft together will offer creativity, speed and quality benefits to their customers, says Steven Karol, Watermill managing partner. Gerry King, Experi-Metal president, will also be head of prototype sales for the two companies. Kurt Saldana, Quality Metalcraft’s CEO, will also be Experi-Metal’s chief executive.
“The automotive industry is in the midst of a monumental shift,” Karol says. “Technology-driven trends are transforming consumer appetite and disrupting an industry that has remained mostly unchanged for decades.” Recent deals involving suppliers to auto makers have included Grakon LLC picking up Hamsar Diversco Inc., combining two makers of lighting and electronics for auto manufacturers; and Prism Plastics, an auto parts maker backed by Altus Capital Partners, acquiring Tech Molded Plastics Inc., supplier to auto, medical, consumer, electronics and aeronautics industries. Also, auto parts maker LKQ Corp. (Nasdaq: LKQ) recently agreed to acquire Pittsburgh Glass Works LLC, maker of automotive glass, from private equity firm Kohlberg & Co. and minority owner PPG Industries Inc. (NYSE: PPG).