Avantus Aerospace has been busy the past year assembling a fastener division meant to be a rival to bigger firms.The Santa Clarita aircraft parts manufacturer has acquired three other businesses since December.Dennis Suedkamp, president of the fastener division, said that Avantus looks for solid small businesses with stable backgrounds that are mainly supplying defense programs and that complement other parts companies owned by Avantus.“They started going after some smaller acquisitions with the intent of building a decent fastener division that would rival some of the bigger fastener manufacturers,” Suedkamp said.
The first company bought was Fastener Technology Corp. in North Hollywood, acquired in December 2019 and where Suedkamp was president. That was followed in quick succession by the purchases of Fastener Innovation Technology Corp. in Rancho Dominguez late last month and of California Screw Products, a Paramount high-strength fasteners manufacturer, earlier this month.
All three of the companies provide parts to prime contractors, including Lockheed Martin Corp., Boeing Co. and Raytheon Technologies Corp.“They wanted to put all of that together, especially because if they are defense-oriented, that is the most stable market there is,” Suedkamp said.
Avantus is owned by Inflexion, a London-based mid-market private equity firm, and Auctus Industries, an investor in aerospace businesses also headquartered in London.Suedkamp said the parent businesses have been good about providing the financing for the acquisitions. Additionally, both want companies that are employee oriented, he said.“They want to have world-class employee buy in and world class customer service,” he continued. “That is one of the main reasons why I wanted to stay because they have the same belief that I did that employees really come first and that will make the difference in any business organization.” Suedkamp also serves as president of Fastener Technology Corp., a position he held prior to the acquisition.
That the acquisitions of two companies occurred during the coronavirus pandemic did not matter to Avantus.“We find this is an opportune time because of COVID for this particular marketplace because this is a strong area, and we feel we are building a strong foundation during this timeframe,” Suedkamp said. “In fact, all three companies are hiring.” Fastener Technology has hired about 16 new employees since it was bought out. The other two companies are looking to hire between eight and 12 new employees to fill machine operator positions.
Due to the defense work that all three acquired companies perform, they are considered essential businesses and have remained open since the start of the pandemic in March.When the North Hollywood company first understood what the coronavirus was, it immediately began to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines with cleaning and wearing masks, Suedkamp said.
When Avantus looked at Fastener Innovation and California Screw, both were following similar protocols. All three have been able to hold on during the pandemic and have flowed down their worker safety protocols to their suppliers because they need to stay open as well, Suedkamp said.“Needless to say, we have not had any interruption in our supply chain nor in delivery to our prime Tier 1 customers,” he added.