Graham Partners Exits Schneller in $289M Deal

Buyout firm Graham Partners has exited its investment in Schneller, selling the company to TransDigm Group Inc. for $289 million. The sale yielded Graham a 3.4x gross multiple on its investment, the firm said. Graham bought Schneller in 2007. Based in Kent, Ohio, Schneller designs and manufactures highly engineered laminates, thermoplastics, and non-textile flooring for use primarily on side walls, lavatories, galleys, bulkheads, and cabin floors of airplanes.

PRESS RELEASE
Graham Partners announced today that it has completed the sale of one of its portfolio companies, Schneller, to TransDigm Group Incorporated for approximately $289 million. The private equity firm delivered a 3.4x gross multiple on its investment in Schneller, which it acquired in 2007 through its second institutional investment fund, Graham Partners II, L.P. Schneller is one of two aerospace platforms held by Graham Partners, a private equity firm focused on investing in high growth industrial and manufacturing-related businesses.

Schneller, headquartered in Kent, Ohio, designs and manufactures highly engineered laminates, thermoplastics, and non-textile flooring for use primarily on side walls, lavatories, galleys, bulkheads, and cabin floors. These products are found on almost every commercial transport and regional jet platform. The Company is a preferred or sole supplier to key aerospace customers, including many of the world’s major OEMs, commercial airlines, and leading aircraft interior designers and suppliers.

Over the past eighteen months, Graham Partners has invested in nine companies, including the following five new platforms —- Eberle, Strata, SP, GP Industrial Technologies, and Chelsea; and has exited four investments —- ICG Commerce, Stormtech, GP Special Opportunities, and Schneller. Graham Partners’ strategy is to acquire industrial businesses that are benefiting from raw materials and technology conversion trends in their industries, where Graham can utilize its extensive operating resources and industrial network to add value. In Schneller’s case, increasing deployment of wide-body planes, which require greater quantities of laminate material, as well as increased use of decorative laminates in lieu of other materials in aircraft interiors, drove strong sales and earnings performance.

During Graham’s ownership, the private equity firm worked actively with Schneller’s management team to support the execution of an aggressive growth plan. Schneller expanded its aftermarket opportunity by enhancing its certification capabilities; developed a substantial number of new products —- including a revolutionary, eco-friendly, lightweight flooring covering; and enhanced procurement and quality controls within its manufacturing operations, among other initiatives.

“With Schneller, Graham fostered an innovative culture committed to new product development. We partnered with an outstanding management team to implement a strategic plan focused on broadening end markets, developing new products, and maintaining Schneller’s profitability by continually pursuing operational improvements,” said Chris Lawler, Managing Principal at Graham Partners. He continued, “We wish Schneller and TransDigm continued success in the future.”

Graham Partners and Schneller were advised by Harris Williams & Co. during the sale process.