Uniban Canada and P.H. Vitres D’autos Inc. have their sights set on entering the U.S. auto glass repair and replacement market as a part of their expansion strategy. The Canadian companies have forged a partnership with the Charlotte, N.C.-based private equity firm Ridgemont Equity Partners to launch the Clairus Group, a vertically-integrated auto glass and claims management provider in North America.
“We are proud to announce this milestone in the evolution of our organizations, which celebrate more than 50 years of experience,” says Marc Desmarais, CEO of Clairus. “Our partnership with Ridgemont reinforces the strength of our organization and paves the way for continued growth throughout North America and abroad. Ridgemont has deep experience in the automotive industry and shares our vision of growing Clairus’ presence into new geographies and investing in the latest technology …”
The Clairus Group, headquartered in Laval, Quebec, Canada provides auto glass repair, replacement and recalibration services with on-demand claims technology. Currently, the company has 18 distribution centers, more than 220 in-bay service centers and 300 mobile units.
“Ridgemont has been investing in the transportation sector for well over a decade – from aftermarket distribution and services to third party logistics,” says Jack Purcell (partner) and Tim Dillon (principal) in a joint statement on behalf of Ridgemont. “… Clairus’ vertically-integrated model and product flexibility will allow the company to penetrate new markets both organically and through acquisition, while strengthening our presence in those areas where Clairus is already well established. Our capital will provide Clairus with significant firepower to pursue acquisitions and, notably, will allow the Clairus team to provide business owners looking for liquidity with highly flexible transaction structuring solutions. We are incredibly excited to back the management team at Clairus, and we look forward to executing on our growth strategy in Canada and the U.S. together.”
Ridgemont Equity Partners is a middle-market buyout and growth equity investor and focuses on investments of $25 million to $125 million, according to the company. The investment made into the Clairus Group was not disclosed.