Astroseal Products Mfg. Corporation is a leading supplier of lightning strike protection for aerospace applications. Founded in 1965, Astroseal pioneered the development of its Astrostrike® expanded copper and aluminum foil mesh which is integrated into composite aerospace structures for both RFI and EMI shielding and lightning protection.
Astroseal was energetically led by a husband and wife team who were looking to transition to the next chapter of their lives after leading the business for their entire careers. The owners were seeking an investor that would continue to support the company, and provide for a significant capital gain event and allow them to free themselves from the day-to-day operating concerns of the business.
The Company’s highly engineered proprietary products were specified by aircraft manufacturers as the “Gold Standard” in the industry for years. As the industry supply chain evolved, end-users looked to composite material suppliers to incorporate Astrostrike® into their products. Consolidation of this channel created significant customer concentration and made the visibility into specific aerospace platforms inherently more challenging.
Could Bigelow find a new majority investor that would value the Company’s proprietary product line, maintain the existing plant and employees while also taking over the executive leadership?
“We trusted Bigelow with our life’s work and it was trust well placed. This could not have happened without your guidance, support and understanding of both us. We are most appreciative, not only from a business point of view, but also from a personal point of view, to have Bigelow with us as we cross this milestone in our lives.” Deb Grass, Owner Astroseal Products Mfg. Corporation
“Bigelow did a masterful job from the beginning of the sale process to its successful conclusion. The Bigelow team orchestrated all of the many tasks and personalities and was always there when we needed a breakthrough or counseled patience when we just needed to step back from the plate. Not only are they very talented at what they do, but they are fun to work with and understand the crucial role that personal relationships play in successfully advising a family business.” John Lawrence, Jr. Partner Shipman & Goodwin LLP
Bigelow architected a “by-invitation-only market” for the company so the family could prescribe who they wanted as the next owner. Bigelow approached the best world class investors but limited the exposure of confidential information by executing a limited number of non-disclosure agreements. In addition, Bigelow “pulled forward” several due diligence aspects including commissioning a third party market study and environmental investigation prior to investor discussions.
Ultimately, the owners selected HEICO Corporation to be the next owner. HEICO Corporation (NYSE:HEI) is known as an active acquirer of strong niche aerospace businesses that are run autonomously and they have a strong market position in aerospace composites.