Crash-test dummy maker sees sale as smart move for growth

Dustin Walsh
CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS

Published: December 9, 2013 3:47 pm ET
Updated: December 9, 2013 3:50 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Mergers & Acquisitions, Automotive

Plymouth Township, Mich.-based crash-test dummy maker Humanetics Innovative Solutions Inc. is on a collision course with growth and wants to make the impact count.

Humanetics, its parent company Safety Technology Holdings Inc., and its subsidiaries HITEC Sensor Solutions Inc. and Sensor Developments Inc., were sold last week to San Francisco-based private equity firm Golden Gate Capital.

The companies were sold by Chicago private equity firm Wynnchurch Capital Ltd., which formed Humanetics in 2009 after acquiring First Technology Safety Systems Inc. and merging it with Denton ATD Inc.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. However, GE Capital and KKR Asset Management LLC provided financing to support the transaction, according to a news release.

Foley & Lardner LLP, with offices in Detroit, served as legal advisers to Wynnchurch and STH.

Chris O'Connor, president and CEO of STH and Humanetics, said Wynnchurch had planned on selling for some time and had been working on a deal for the past six to eight months.

O'Connor, a former member of Wynnchurch, said the company had several suitors but chose Golden Gate Capital as a long-term stakeholder.

"We want the ability to grow for a longer period of time," O'Connor said. "[Golden Gate] doesn't operate in the three- to five-year window like traditional private equity, so we see this as a much longer partnership."

O'Connor said Golden Gate will provide additional funding to Humanetics for future acquisitions and capital equipment.

He expects revenue to triple over the next five years under Golden Gate ownership.

Crain's estimates Humanetics revenue to reach $110 million this year, up from $90 million in 2012. O'Connor declined to provide revenue.

Humanetics manufactures and calibrates crash-test dummies for several industries, mainly automotive, and is developing new technologies to keep people safe during accidents.

The company manufactures the sensor technology and test equipment in Plymouth, Mich. The dummies are manufactured in Huron, Ohio, and the company has operations in Germany, Japan, China, India, South Korea, Australia, Brazil and Mexico.

It's a low-volume industry; Humanetics sells roughly 30 dummies a month, O'Connor said. And the dummies are built to last several decades, he said. Prices are steep, from $20,000 to more than $100,000 each, depending on sensing capabilities.

Much of the crash-test dummy technology in circulation today was developed in the 1980s, O'Connor told Crain's in a previous interview. For those older than 30, these dummy models are recognizable as Vince and Larry, the singing dummies featured in the 1980s U.S. Department of Transportation "Buckle Up" television ads.

As regulators continue to push for stricter automotive crash tests, dummy makers are adapting to the need for advanced testing equipment.


Comments

Crash-test dummy maker sees sale as smart move for growth

Dustin Walsh
CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS

Published: December 9, 2013 3:47 pm ET
Updated: December 9, 2013 3:50 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Acquisition expands Rieke Packaging's stake in Asia

July 28, 2014 4:39 pm ET

Diversified rigid packaging components producer Rieke Packaging Systems now has a bigger footprint in Asia.    More

Image

Two medical device makers add specialty products through acquisitions

July 28, 2014 3:02 pm ET

The medical merger mania continues this summer as two more medical device manufacturers are swallowed up by bigger competitors.    More

Image

Deal combines US packaging thermoformers

July 28, 2014 12:42 pm ET

Thermoformed medical packager Nelipak Corp. is expanding its North American holdings and access to the U.S. health care market with the purchase of...    More

Magna hiring at two Michigan locations

July 28, 2014 11:43 am ET

Magna Interior Trim Components is adding a total of 169 jobs to two of its Michigan manufacturing facilities.    More

Image

Metals and plastics company NN to buy Autocam in $300 million deal

July 25, 2014 10:07 am ET

A Tennessee metals and plastics company said it has agreed to acquire auto parts supplier Autocam Corp. in a deal valued at $300 million.    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recyclers Data Report & Directory

This exclusive MS Excel database contains all the companies from Plastics News' ranking of top North American Recyclers and Brokers by reprocessed volume and also includes a directory with materials processes, services offered and company contact information. Data is based on primary research by PN editorial staff.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events