First Atlantic Capital’s Prestolite up for Sale

US private equity firm First Atlantic Capital has put engineering company Prestolite Electric Inc up for sale, which could fetch about $400 million, four sources told Reuters. The sources said New York-based First Atlantic had hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc as an adviser, and first-round bids were due in about three weeks. The auction could attract bids from private equity firms, writes Reuters.

(Reuters) – U.S. private equity firm First Atlantic Capital has put engineering company Prestolite Electric Inc up for sale, which could fetch about $400 million, four sources told Reuters.

The sources said New York-based First Atlantic had hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc as an adviser, and first-round bids were due in about three weeks. The auction could attract bids from private equity firms.

Goldman Sachs declined to comment. First Atlantic and Prestolite could not immediately be reached for comment. The sources declined to be identified because the discussions were private.

Prestolite, which makes alternators and starter motors for buses and trucks, has operations in Argentina, Britain and the United States, but has seen its strongest sales growth in China, two of the sources said.

Wholly owned China subsidiary Prestolite Electric Beijing Limited (PEBL) had gross sales of over 740 million yuan in 2009, with about 10 percent of that from export sales, according to its web site.

PEBL has annual production of 1 million alternators and 500,000 starter motors.

Mid markets buyout specialist First Atlantic acquired Prestolite in 2004, according to the private equity firm’s web site.

With its focus on heavy engineering sectors, global production and distribution, and strong Asia growth, two of the sources compared Prestolite to Hyva, a Dutch pump maker that U.K. private equity firm 3i Group Plc sold to Unitas Capital and NWS Holdings this year for 525 million euros ($730 million).

That buyout was financed entirely through a high yield bond, the first deal of its kind for Asia.