Willkie Advises 3i in $643 Million Sale of Hilite International

June 3, 2014

3i had originally purchased the automotive supplier in 2011.

Willkie client 3i Group plc recently announced the sale of Hilite International, a leading global supplier of highly engineered automotive engine and transmission components, to AVIC Electromechanical Systems Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Aviation Industry Corporation of China, one of the largest industrial conglomerates in China. The enterprise value of the transaction is approximately €473 million ($643 million).

3i invested in Hilite in 2011 in an all-equity transaction to help it further exploit its prospects in the fast-growing powertrain segment of the automotive industry. Hilite’s products improve fuel consumption, reduce emissions and enhance performance, thereby directly capitalizing on these automotive megatrends that are driven by stricter legislation being enacted by governments globally.

Hilite has transformed significantly during 3i’s ownership, refocusing its strategy on its core business of highly-engineered products, invested over €100 million in R&D and capital expenditure, and leveraged 3i’s global network to accelerate its expansion into China, the fastest growing automotive market in the world.

The cross-border multidisciplinary Willkie deal team was led by partner Mario Schmidt (corporate/private equity) and national partner Dr. Octávio de Sousa (corporate/private equity) in Frankfurt and included: Frankfurt – national partners Dr. Christian Rolf (HR), Dr. Bettina Bokeloh (tax) and Rolf Hünermann (compliance/corporate commercial), and associates Daniel Zakrzewski (corporate/private equity), Mario Bammann (finance), Johannes Eckhardt (corporate), Jochen Riechwald (HR), Christina Mann (corporate), Enno Appel (antitrust/corporate commercial), Martin Waskowski (corporate), Suobin Wang (corporate), Marco Müller (corporate), and Dr. Jan Claudio Munoz (corporate); Washington – special counsel Russell Smith (government relations); and New York – partners Eugene Chang (IP) and Michael Katz (HR), of counsel Michael Johnson (IP), special counsel Jonathan Konoff (corporate), and associates Isabel Araujo (HR), Joseph Antignani (corporate) and Michael Gordon (corporate).