The Good Side of Private Equity? - Engine Builder Magazine

The Good Side of Private Equity?

It’s no secret that the performance industry and engine building industry has been consolidating for quite some time. It’s occurring on just about every level – shops, manufacturers, distributors, etc. Most evident recently has been private equity firms buying up manufacturers, as well as other large performance groups merging with various brands within this space.

First things first, no one wants to see an abundance of consolidation, and I’m not advocating for private equity, but I’m also not against it – where it makes sense. I’m merely bringing up something I’ve seen lately in the industry. Obviously, everyone has their own opinions about private equity and its involvement in the engine/performance industry. We’ve all seen both good and bad things stem from it with a number of brands we’ve come to know and love.

In recent years, groups like Holley have bought up a number of performance brands, the COMP Group was acquired by Edelbrock and Industrial Opportunity Partners, the Race Winning Brands portfolio of companies has ballooned under MiddleGround Capital, and now the folks at AFR, Scat, Vortech and RaceTec have come together under Taglich Private Equity. 

In most circumstances, these private equity firms have allowed the companies/brands under their umbrella to operate on their own and as they always had been – to work with their respective management teams and operate as independent organizations to provide designs, products and service to their customers. However, in other instances, changes occur in personnel, in location, in operation, etc., which affects how the industry as a whole interacts with that particular company and its products.

I’ve heard grumblings associated with numerous private equity owned brands from engine builders who say things have changed for the worse for various reasons – supply, lead time, pricing, quality, and more. But, who’s to say whether those are strictly a reflection of being acquired versus other outside influences?

Those sort of drawbacks aside, I recently saw news of something which I think can only benefit the companies involved – the sharing of resources, knowledge, innovation, and capabilities among two companies and brands under the same private equity umbrella. I’m talking about the news that Scat Enterprises and Vortech Superchargers will be under one roof.

This move, according to a press release, will aim to combine decades of experience in manufacturing and supplying high-quality, high-performance products. By combining Scat Enterprises’ 60-plus years of manufacturing crankshafts, connecting rods and rotating assemblies with Vortech’s quality and engineering expertise within centrifugal superchargers, the hope is their customers will be guaranteed the finest engine components available. 

The new 60,000 sq./ft. facility will provide the ability to update machining capabilities and processes as well as improve logistics to better serve customers. A full QC department equipped with the latest inspection tools will also make certain that product continues to be manufactured to the highest quality.

Scat will be moving headquarters from Redondo Beach, CA to Oxnard, CA by March 2024, and I have to say that I see this as a good thing for these two companies. How can two such brands of their respective caliber not benefit each other in this scenario? I guess time will tell, but it was a move I thought sounds smart, and one other private equity firms might want to consider or emulate where it makes sense.

As Scat put it, “We are excited for the next step in our evolution…” and I’m excited to see how it plays out as well. And, speaking of working in harmony, I’m also excited to share the latest issue of Engine Builder with you all – an issue dedicated to valvetrain componentry. Enjoy! EB

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