Graeme Hart diversifies - into car parts
Not content with becoming the cardboard box king, New Zealand's richest man Graeme Hart is diversifying.
Rank Group, Mr Hart's investment vehicle, has launched a US$375 million leveraged buy out of car parts manufacturer UCI International, the company said in a statement.
On first glance the move appears odd, as Mr Hart has spent the best part of a decade acquiring global packaging assets - most recently a US$6.5 billion merger with Pactiv. Mr Hart's empire is now estimated to be worth US$13.8b
But Mr Hart's canny spotting of bargains may have come into play. Private equity firm Carlyle Group paid $800m for 90% of UCI in 2003, meaning Rank's offer to buy is for a steep discount.
Rank will take on US$605m in debt as part of the deal, and the offer is likely to can UCI's planned sharemarket float.
Indiana-based UCI reported annual sales of US$895 million in the year ended March 31, with net profit of US$20.2 million, according documents lodged with the Securities and Exchange Commission in July.
The buy-out is expected to be completed by March 2011.