New York, NY and Duffel, Belgium, June 14, 2022:
American Industrial Partners Capital Fund VII, L.P. (“AIP”), through an affiliated entity, yesterday acquired ownership of the aluminium rolling mill located in Duffel, Belgium (“Aluminium Duffel”). The acquisition was completed through a consensual purchase and sale of 100% of the shares of Aluminium Belgium BV, the parent company which owns Aluminium Duffel, by AIP from the owner of those shares, Ecnavla 8 UK Ltd, a UK company.
Geert Vannuffelen, General Manager of Aluminium Duffel, stated: “Today marks a major milestone in our company’s history. We look forward to proceeding under the new ownership of AIP, who is committed to a sustainable future for our company. We are positive about the steps AIP has taken to further invest in the company, which demonstrates their engagement to reach the full potential of our plant.”
Ecnavla 8 UK Ltd has been in administration in the United Kingdom since July 7, 2021, with G P Rowley and D Shambrook of FRP Advisory Trading Limited appointed as administrators (the “Administrators”). The shares sold to AIP had been previously pledged to affiliates of AIP under first lien financing arrangements previously provided to Aluminium Duffel. AIP also purchased intercompany notes owned by Ecnavla 8 UK Ltd in its subsidiaries. Ecnavla 8 UK Ltd will remain in administration in the UK until all matters associated with the purchase and sale and the administration have been resolved. AIP’s purchase was completed in full compliance with applicable European Union merger regulations.
AIP notes that the sale occurred after (a) payment and other defaults under loans provided by an AIP affiliate to Aluminium Duffel had continued since July 2021, (b) the unanimous decision of the Antwerp Belgium Court of Appeal on May 5, 2022, affirming the Administrators’ appointment of an independent director at Aluminium Duffel, and (c) the failure of Aluminium Duffel and its former shareholder to refinance the company in the 11 months since the July 2021 defaults.
As a result, AIP is now the legal and beneficial owner of two legal entities in Belgium: ALVANCE Aluminium Belgium BV and ALVANCE Aluminium Duffel BV, which owns and operates Aluminium Duffel along with several other affiliated entities in other countries.
AIP intends to continue to operate Aluminium Duffel together with the existing local leadership team, and does not anticipate any disruption to normal operations of the business, including for customers, suppliers and employees. AIP expects to provide additional capital to support the business going forward so that it can successfully execute on its business plan, including for working capital, continued employment and important capital investments.
AIP was represented by Jones Day, Baker Botts LLP and Messier & Associés in this matter.
About Aluminium Duffel: Founded in 1946, with numerous expansions and modernizations since then, Aluminium Duffel is a leading manufacturer of aluminium rolled products in Europe, specializing in auto body sheet and a wide variety of industrial products, used primarily in the automotive, transportation, distribution, and architecture, design construction industries. Aluminium Duffel has up to 250,000 tons per year of nameplate production capacity, with annual turnover of approximately €600 million and over 1,000 full-time employees. Located near Antwerp, Belgium, Aluminium Duffel BV (BE) is the operating company which owns the assets, employs the workforce and does business with customers and suppliers. Aluminium Duffel is certified against the ASI Performance Standard and the ASI Chain of Custody Standard, which embody the highest standards of responsible sourcing, emissions and production quality.
About AIP: AIP is an operationally oriented private equity firm that makes investments in industrial businesses serving domestic and global markets. The firm has deep roots in the industrial economy and has been active since 1989. To date, AIP has completed over 100 transactions and currently has more than $8 billion of assets under management on behalf of leading institutions. Among AIP’s over 25 portfolio companies are Commonwealth Rolled Products, which operates the Lewisport, Kentucky rolling mill, a leader in aluminum rolled products serving the automotive and industrial markets in the United States, and Aluminium Dunkerque of Loon-Plage, France, the largest aluminium smelter in Europe.