Blackstone teams up with Resolution Life; Greenbelt bets on solar power; OpenGate likes aluminum

Blackstone and Resolution Life plan to raise $3 billion in equity capital.

Good morning, dealmakers. MK Flynn here with today’s Wire.

Deals involving solar power, aluminum extrusion and mold making are featured on PE Hub and PE Hub Europe today. Before we get to those stories, let’s take a quick look at Blackstone’s just announced partnership with Resolution Life.

That’s Life. The New York PE firm and the life insurance group plan to raise $3 billion of new equity capital commitments – including a $500 million strategic investment from Blackstone – bringing the insurer’s overall equity capital base to more than $8 billion, states the press release. The fresh capital will be raised through a newly established perpetual capital vehicle, with Blackstone serving as the GP. Most of Resolution Life’s existing investors, including its largest, Nippon Life, are expected to roll their investments into the vehicle.

Resolution Life is a global life insurance group focused on the acquisition and management of portfolios of life insurance policies. It has operations in Bermuda, the U.K., the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

The partnership marks “the latest example of a private equity firm linking up with an insurer to secure more assets to manage and an insurer handing over management of its assets in search of higher returns,” as the Wall Street Journal points out. “It will be the fourth such deal for Blackstone, which has already struck similar partnerships with F&G, part of Fidelity National Financial Inc.; a former life-insurance unit of Allstate Corp.; and Corebridge Financial, the life-insurance and retirement-services unit spun out of American International Group Inc.”

Here comes the sun. Rising energy prices are prompting consumers to consider solar power, which opens up opportunities for PE investment, Chris Murphy, partner at Greenbelt Capital Partners told PE Hub.

Based in Austin, Texas, Greenbelt last week made a majority investment in Albuquerque, New Mexico-based Unirac, which specializes in solar photovoltaic mounting.

“Given the steadily increasing cost of utilities, the economics of going solar are very compelling,” said Murphy. “We are also in an environment where many constituents are looking for more sustainable forms of energy, and solar is a great way to provide that.”
He continued: “One thing that really impressed us with the management team at Unirac has been their ability to navigate the supply chain challenges that has impacted products, services and businesses across all industries,” he said. “They have a very efficient and nimble global supply chain that has allowed them to provide products on time schedule relative to the competition.”

To scale Unirac, Murphy said Greenbelt is looking forward to both organic and inorganic growth.

“There is definitely an M&A story that we were drawn to within the solar product space, and we think Unirac is a compelling platform to act as the acquirer of choice within that sector,” he said.

Read Obey’s story here.

Heavy metal. Los Angeles PE firm OpenGate Capital announced earlier today that it is forming Aluminium Solutions Group (ASG) through the merger of Extol – which it acquired last month – and Aluminium France Extrusion (AFE), a portfolio company since June 2013.

PE Hub Europe’s Nina Lindholm caught up with OpenGate managing director Fabien Marcantetti and senior vice-presidents Xavier Lambert and Bruno Amaral to discuss the deal.

Extol is a specialty extruder and manufacturer of custom aluminum parts with facilities in Toledo, Spain – where the company is headquartered – and in Nantes, France.

AFE is an aluminum extruder serving the construction, transportation and industrial sectors. It is headquartered and has facilities in Saint-Florentin in France, with additional facilities in Ham, France.

The deal creates France’s second-largest and Europe’s sixth-largest aluminum extruder, according to OpenGate.

To find out more about OpenGate’s plans for ASG, including exit aspirations, read Nina’s story on PE Hub Europe.

Making molds. Another deal the PE Hub Europe team reported on today is the 13th acquisition made by Crestview Partners-backed SyBridge Technologies. The purchase of Galway Tool & Mould marks Detroit-based SyBridge’s first acquisition in Europe. Headquartered in its namesake Galway, Ireland, the target designs and manufactures molds primarily for the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

SyBridge was established in 2019 by New York-based Crestview.

For more, read David Wansboro’s story on PE Hub Europe.

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All the best,