New investors, new growth hopes – September 25, 2006

National Powersports Auction (NPA) has a new majority owner, a move that will not result in any changes to the company’s daily operations but could spur its long-term growth.
Transportation Resource Partners, LP, a private equity firm focused on investing in the transportation industry, recently acquired the majority share from Falconhead Capital, LLC, another private equity firm.
Dave Mitchell, a principal of TRP, a $265 million private equity fund, said NPA’s management team, including CEO Cliff Clifford, will remain with the company. “We look at them as partners in the ownership of the business,” Mitchell told Powersports Business.
He also said TPR does not see NPA as a short-term investment. “It’s an interesting business,” Mitchell said of the company, which is headquartered near San Diego, Calif. “We like their customer-service focus. We like the markets that they’re serving. We think there’s obviously some growth opportunity there.”
In fact, NPA, under its new ownership, will look at several areas of growth in the coming year, said Justyn Amstutz, NPA’s executive vice president.
One of those areas of growth could be new facilities. NPA currently has auctions in San Diego, Dallas and Atlanta, but is looking at sites in the Midwest and in the Southeast.
“If an opportunity presented itself, we’d like to do something in 2007,” Amstutz said. “But we’re probably looking at later in ’07 or early ’08” to possibly purchase new auction facilities.
Amstutz also said he expects the company to move its Dallas operations to another site within the same city. That announcement could be made in the next few months. The current Dallas facility is “just not reflective of the cutting edge technology” that NPA is known for, Amstutz said.
NPA also will look at ways of increasing its marine and RV side of the auction business as well as developing ways to increase its consignment business with powersports dealers. To improve the latter, the company recently announced a joint project with Harley-Davidson called Harley-Davidson Dealer Exchange (See sidebar at left).
“We wanted to make sure that we moved forward with a partner that was going to continue to reinvest in the company,” Amstutz said of NPA’s new majority owners, TPR. “We’re excited about the transition.” psb

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