Clearlake Capital Group, L.P. has formed a definitive agreement to sell Sage Automotive Interiors (to an affiliate of Asahi Kasei Corporation. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.
Sage is a leading global supplier of specialty designed, high-performance technical textiles and microfiber suedes for the automotive industry.
During Clearlake's four-year ownership, Sage executed on an investment thesis focused on transforming the company into a diversified global platform. In partnership with management, Clearlake implemented its O.P.S.® framework. Organic growth initiatives at Sage focused on expanding the company's product offering and sales reach in Europe and Asia. These were supplemented by successfully executing several strategic acquisitions, including the acquisitions of Miko S.r.l. and Apollo S.p.A. in Italy, which enabled the company to expand its technical capabilities, product offerings, European manufacturing resources and further penetrated key OEM customers. In addition, the company invested further in its Sage Wuhan joint venture in China to drive more rapid growth in Asia.
The combination of these organic and inorganic initiatives drove Sage's significant expansion and growth during its partnership with Clearlake.
Under its Cs for Tomorrow 2018 medium-term strategic initiative, Asahi Kasei is focused on expanding automotive-related business as a priority in the material sector. The company is currently working across the sector to strengthen relationships with vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers while expanding operations globally.
The automotive industry is in a period of transformation referred to as CASE, indicating trends toward connected, autonomous, shared, and electric vehicles. Such new trends create significant growth opportunities, including demand for vehicle interiors with greater comfort and innovative design. The market for automotive interior material is thus expected to continue expanding over the longer term, according to the company.
Asahi Kasei supplies Lamous™ microfiber suede to Sage, and the two companies have a long-standing mutually beneficial business relationship. A leader in the development and manufacture of material for automotive interiors, Sage holds the No. 1 global share for vehicle seat fabric.* Sage has established a strong presence among vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers based on its comprehensive proposal capabilities, advanced design capabilities, and processing technology related to automotive interior material.
Asahi Kasei believes the acquisition will strengthen its position in the growing automotive interior material market, contributing to the overall expansion of its automotive-related business. Expected effects of the acquisition include:
- Enhanced access to vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers, in order to swiftly and accurately ascertain trends and needs in the automotive industry
- Proposal and provision of comprehensive vehicle interior designs and solutions leveraging Sage’s design and marketing capabilities in combination with various Asahi Kasei products such as fibers, plastics, and sensors
- Utilizing Sage’s sales, manufacturing, and marketing bases as management infrastructure and resources for the global expansion of Asahi Kasei’s operations