Freightliner Sells Fire and Emergency Vehicle Operation, American LaFrance, to Patriarch Partners, LLC
American LaFrance production in Charleston plant will continue until 2007
DaimlerChrysler to re-assemble Dodge Sprinter in Charleston
Stuttgart/Portland - North America's leading commercial vehicle manufacturer, DaimlerChrysler's Freightliner LLC, announced today that it has reached an agreement to transfer ownership of its fire apparatus and emergency vehicles business unit, American LaFrance, to the New York-based investment firm, Patriarch Partners, LLC.
Andreas Renschler, the DaimlerChrysler Board of Management member responsible for the Commercial Vehicles Division, said: "Under the 'Global Excellence' initiative we are reviewing the portfolio of our commercial vehicle businesses and products. The sale of American LaFrance is a result of this process."
American LaFrance is the country's fifth largest fire and emergency services vehicle producer with a heritage dating back 173 years. American LaFrance produces and distributes a comprehensive line of fire and emergency apparatus including chassis, aerials, ambulances, pumpers, rescues and tankers.
In addition to the purchase of all operating assets, Patriarch will maintain American LaFrance's manufacturing facilities and corporate-owned dealer locations across the US. The Ladson (South Carolina) corporate office building and assembly facility, that is not part of the sale, remains a DaimlerChrysler asset. It will be utilized in part by American LaFrance until 2007.
DaimlerChrysler recently announced it will be dedicating the 460,000 sq. ft. facility to assembly of the next generation Dodge Sprinter van in response to growing demand in the North American markets. Initially, 220 employees will be engaged in the production process when the plant assembles its first van end of Q4 2006. Through November 2005, 26,000 Sprinter vans were sold in the NAFTA region (full year 2004: 18,900 units).
"Patriarch Partners and its related entities have a successful track record in complex industries and we felt they were a perfect fit with American LaFrance's dedicated workforce and can-do attitude" said Chris Patterson, Freightliner President and CEO. "Patriarch's strategy aligns well with American LaFrance's loyalty and commitment to further increasing customer satisfaction while profitably growing market share and they are well suited to focus on American LaFrance's core markets."
Patriarch believes that with use of its substantial capital and strategic expertise, there exists an extraordinary opportunity to enhance the depth and breadth of the business that bears the well-established and respected American LaFrance name and brings with it an experienced management team. Lynn Tilton, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Patriarch Partners says, "Patriarch is honored to make its entrance into the fire and emergency apparatus industry carrying the American LaFrance flag. We believe that our acquisition of the businesses and trademarks of American LaFrance affords us a platform with prodigious potential for expansion that already capitalizes upon a highly regarded and recognized player in this important and competitive market."
Patriarch Partners, LLC is an investment fund based in New York and in Charlotte, North Carolina. Patriarch provides portfolio management services to 8 leveraged funds and a private equity fund, which funds own and manages a diverse portfolio of international companies and credit facilities with an aggregate asset value of approximately $5.0 billion including equity ownership positions (majority and minority) in more than 65 companies.
Freightliner LLC, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is the leading medium- and heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America. Freightliner produces and markets Class 5-8 vehicles and is a company of DaimlerChrysler, the world's largest commercial vehicle manufacturer.