Belron, which operates Safelite® AutoGlass and Autoglass®, welcomed new shareholders on December 17.
As previously reported, Hellman & Friedman, BlackRock Private Equity Partners and GIC joined the company’s list of shareholders with the completion of the acquisition of a combined stake of 16.8% in Belron. Originally, these shareholders were anticipated to obtain a 13% shareholding in July 12, 2021 announcement by Belron.
“We look forward to working with our new shareholders and thank them for the confidence that their investment demonstrates in us,” Belron chief executive Gary Lubner says in a company statement. “Our partnership with our existing shareholders D’Ieteren and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) has been productive and supportive, and we anticipate working in a similarly positive manner with shareholders in the future. We continue to invest in and grow the business for the long term based on our values, our strong commitment to excellence and our determination to provide customers with a first-class service. We are well positioned to benefit from the structural growth in the market coming from increasing windscreen technology and complexity.”
Also announced on December 17 was Clayton, Dubilier & Rice Fund X’s sale of its investment in Belron. The transaction consisted of two parts, including 39% of CD&R’s stake to funds managed by Hellman & Friedman, GIC and BlackRock Private Equity Partners. CD&R’s remaining 61% was sold to CD&R Value Building Partners I, L.P. and related vehicles, “new special purpose vehicles formed to continue CD&R’s partnership with Belron,” according to a company statement.
“First, you have to acknowledge what a fantastic investment Belron was for CD&R stakeholders,” says an industry expert. “The returns they made were truly outstanding with the transaction’s recent €21 Billion valuation. When you read reports of the news, you see that the valuation appears to have far exceeded analyst expectations, driven by the business acumen of the Belron management team and the future revenues driven by ADAS.”
The industry expert adds that the mix of buyers of the 39% of CD&R original investment sold in the transaction is “an interesting mix.” “Hellman & Friedman owns Caliber Collision/ABRA Auto Body & Glass. So we now have the owner of the largest auto body collision repair platform in the United States, owning a piece of the most prominent player in the AGRR industry in the United States.”
“Both aftermarket repair organizations’ growing influence in the consumer, insurance, and fleet segments of the AGRR industry should be an obvious concern to competitors. Black Rock is reported to be the largest asset management company globally. It can’t hurt to have them as a shareholder. GIC manages the country of Singapore’s foreign reserves, and they tend to make long-term investments,” the industry expert says. The new shareholders “bring different attributes to Belron. Each provides access to capital and influence in the global marketplace, which should help the company provide further opportunities for long-term growth.” The industry expert adds that an effect on the day-to-day operations of Belron is not expected.
“We are very pleased to welcome new, high quality investors at Belron and to continue our strong partnership with the Belron team and the D’Ieteren Group in a business that we believe has tremendous runway for growth and value creation,” CD&R partner Christian Rochat says in the company statement. “Importantly, we are excited to deliver a creative solution that has given our investors an array of attractive options.”
D’Ieteren Group retains 50.01% of Belron’s fully diluted share capital, while Clayton, Dubilier & Rice Fund X retains 20.3% and management, employees and the founding family retain 12.9%.