Despite a difficult economy and high commodity prices since Corporate Partners II (CP) invested $45 million in newly issued equity of Universal Trailer Corporation (UTC), UTC is performing “in-line with expectations,” according to Paul Zepf, a Managing Principal of CP.
In February, UTC President and CEO Tom Frey announced that CP had become the largest shareholder in UTC, the largest specialty trailer manufacturer in North America, featuring Haulmark, Haulmark Motorcoach, Featherlite, Exiss, Sooner and Miley.
“After its first 100 days as UTC’s largest shareholder, Corporate Partners II has seen a unique strength emerge through the alliance of a large investment firm and the leading American specialty trailer company,” Zepf said. “From a number of perspectives, including capital resources, having an investment fund the size of Corporate Partners’ in support of Universal Trailer is unique in the industry.
“In the past four months, UTC has showcased new product innovations at each of four dealer conventions, launched national retail promotions and brought greater efficiencies to its manufacturing facilities in seven states.
”We made the investment in UTC to support the company and the management teams at each of the [divisions]. We bring to the table substantial capital resources and management counsel, and provide assistance in strategic development, both internally and through potential acquisitions. Going forward, these additional resources should position Universal Trailer well ahead of others in the competitive marketplace.
“The current market is challenging and metal prices have spiked upwards, but UTC management has made adjustments to operate profitably in this environment. Corporate Partners II expects to continue to work with UTC to build on its existing strengths. This relationship can affect higher performance in the current environment as well as in the coming upturn. Our efforts will continue to enhance our important relationships with our distribution partners and end customers.”