Remy International considering stock offering, CEO says

Pendleton-based Remy International Inc., the former General Motors Co. unit that exited bankruptcy in 2007, is considering a public offering of its stock this year, CEO John Weber says.

A stock sale is one financing option for the maker of alternators, starters and electric motors for hybrid cars, Weber said. Other options include a merger or an acquisition, he said. Remy shares now trade on the over-the-counter market. Sales are growing and the company is profitable, so Remy is looking for money to invest in strategic growth, he said.

“One of the alternatives we’re considering is an IPO, and part of the driver for that is that there are several strategic opportunities, both domestic and around the world, that we think would be a very good use of investors’ money,” Weber said. He declined to say on which exchange the shares may trade.

Remy may be among several auto-industry offerings this year. Chrysler Group LLC is planning to go public in the second half of this year. Billionaire Wilbur Ross’s International Automotive Components Group has hired banks for a 2011 share sale, a person familiar with the plan has said. Tesla Motors Inc. and GM last year held the first offerings by a U.S. automaker since 1956.

The automakers and suppliers are tapping into investor enthusiasm for the industry’s profitable growth after the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Ford earned $6.37 billion in the first three quarters of 2010, the most since 1998.

Remy had been among the auto suppliers expected to consider selling stock this year, Justin Mirro, managing director of Moelis & Co., a New York-based investment bank, said.

“The companies that would benefit most from an auto industry IPO would be those with hybrid technology, faster growth technologies, fuel economy, lightweight materials or those with a true global platform,” he said.

U.S. automobile sales increased 11 percent last year, to 11.6 million vehicles, from a 27-year low in 2009, Autodata Corp. said Jan. 4. Sales may rise to 12.9 million vehicles this year, according to the average of 17 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg earlier this month, 23 percent fewer than the 16.8 million annual average from 2000 through 2007.

Remy, which makes parts for light- and heavy-duty vehicles as well as replacement parts, said net income was $13.8 million in the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with $2.6 million a year earlier, which excluded a one-time gain. Sales rose 25 percent, to $280 million. Remy plans to report fourth-quarter results March 17, Weber said.

Fidelity National Financial Inc., the largest U.S. title insurer, is Remy’s largest shareholder, with a 47-percent ownership stake, according to a statement. Remy  had about 10.6 million shares outstanding as of Sept. 30, and the average daily volume in the last three months is 2,967 shares.

After a rights offering that closed Jan. 18, Remy will have about 31.6 million shares outstanding. Daniel Murphy, Fidelity National’s treasurer, didn’t respond to an e-mail and voicemail seeking comment.

Through September, Remy received about 61 percent of its revenue from the U.S., the rest from countries including China, Brazil, South Korea and the U.K.

Remy is considering acquisitions in all countries where it operates and in either its aftermarket or original-equipment parts business units, Weber said. He declined to give a limit for how much Remy might spend on an acquisition.

“We’re willing to take on debt and raise additional equity for the right transaction,” he said.

Formerly known as Delco Remy, the company traces its roots to brothers Frank and Perry Remy, who developed magnetos, generators that used magnets to help start early automobiles. GM acquired Delco Remy in 1918 and spun it off in 1995. Remy changed its name to Remy International in 2004 and spent less than two months in bankruptcy in 2007.

Last year, the company refinanced its debt and started the process of eliminating its preferred class of shares.

“It’s a perfect position for the company for everything from acquisition to alliances to a registration,” Weber said. “It puts us in a perfect position to evaluate options.”

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