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Lear Siegler Plans Sale of Peerless Division

June 2, 1987

TUALATIN, Ore. (AP) _ Lear Siegler Inc. has reached an agreement to sell its Peerless Division in a leveraged buyout by a group of managers and private investors, a company official said Tuesday.

Bart Hoemann, president of Peerless, confirmed the sale but said it awaited approval by the board of directors and completion of paperwork. A formal announcement is not expected for a couple of weeks, he said.

Officials declined to disclose terms of the sale. In a leveraged buyout, a company is acquired with mostly borrowed money that is repaid with money from the company’s cash flow or the sale of its assets.

Peerless manufactures log and chip truck trailers and hydraulic dumpers for the wood products industry, and trash trailers, packers and compactors for the refuse industry. It employs about 400 at plants in Tualatin, where it is based; Paragould, Ark.; and Penticton, British Columbia.

The private investors are led by Sequoia, a leveraged buyout firm based in San Mateo, Calif., Hoemann said. The firm does not have a listed telephone number.

If the sale is approved, the division will be known as Peerless Corp., Hoemann said.

Jack Cressman, director of public relations for Lear Siegler in Santa Monica, Calif., declined to comment on the sale Tuesday.

Lear Siegler, acquired by Forstmann, Little & Co. of New York in a leveraged buyout in January, is involved primarily in manufacturing for the aerospace and automotive industries, Cressman said.

″We’re in the process of selling out some of our company, which is normal in an LBO (leveraged buyout),″ he said.

Lear Siegler recently sold its Piper Aircraft Corp. and its French sailboat manufacturer, Jeanneau. It also has a definitive agreement to sell its firearms division, Smith & Wesson Corp., to S.H. Tomkins of London, Cressman said.

Starcraft Corp., a Lear Siegler division that makes sailboats, powerboats and van conversions, also is for sale, Cressman said.

″It’s a changing company right now,″ he added.

Once the unwanted divisions are sold, Lear Siegler will focus on its automotive manufacturing, which includes seating and windshields for domestic automakers, Cressman said.

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