Blackstone acquires Indian auto parts maker Comstar at a $153m valuation

Photo: Bloomberg

Blackstone Group Lp has acquired Chennai-based auto parts maker Comstar Automotive Technologies Pvt. Ltd for about Rs1,000 crore, according to two people aware of the development.

Blackstone has acquired almost 100% of Comstar, valuing the company at $150 million (Rs1,000 crore), said one of the two people cited above, requesting anonymity. “The deal has been signed a month ago, and the money has been transferred last week,” he added.

Blackstone acquired the stake from Comstar’s controlling shareholders—private equity firm Argyle Street Management and the Chandaria family.

Mint reported in October that Blackstone is set to buy a majority stake in Comstar Automotive.

Emails sent to spokespeople for Comstar, Argyle went unanswered while a Blackstone spokesperson declined to comment.

Comstar, a maker of starter motors, starter motor kits and alternators for automotive applications, was founded in 1999 as a subsidiary of Visteon Corp., a unit of Ford Motor Co. in India.

Comstar was sold to Hong Kong-based Argyle Street Management and the Chandaria family in 2007.

The Chandaria family holds its stake in Comstar through its holding company Leticia Investments. The two firms—Argyle and Leticia—hold equal stakes in the auto parts maker.

Comstar has an installed capacity of over 3.8 million starter motors and 1 million alternators in India and 800,000 starter motors in North America till date.

It counts Ford Motor, Volvo, Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland-Nissan, Renault Nissan, Geely, Jaguar, Aston Martin and Mazda as customers, according to Comstar Automotive’s website.

The company has manufacturing facilities in Chennai and Tecumseh in the US, employing more than 900 people, it said on its website.

Blackstone had successfully sold its investment in Chennai-based Agile Electric Sub-Assembly three years ago.

Blackstone, which had invested about $52 million in Agile Electric in July 2013, sold the company to Japan’s Igarashi Electrical Works for $110 million in January 2015. Agile’s customers include companies such as Delphi, Bosch, Ford and Continental. According to a report by Icra, 43 auto parts makers that account for 26% of the component sector’s revenue in India grew by 18.5% from a year earlier in the December quarter.

The key contributors were suppliers to passenger vehicles and two-wheelers that are clocking robust sales.

Blackstone, the world’s largest alternative asset manager with $371 billion worth of assets under management, has invested about $3.5 billion in India till date.

In 2016, Blackstone had made a three-fold return from its four-year old investment in International Tractors Ltd, the owner of the Sonalika brand of farm equipment.

The US fund had sold its 17.75% stake to Japan’s Yanmar Co. Ltd for Rs1,700 crore.

This article was first published on livemint.com.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.