Ridgemont invests in Uniban and PH Vitres d’Autos to form Clairus Group

Uniban Canada and PH Vitres d’Autos have merged to form Clairus Group, becoming the second largest vertically integrated automotive glass and claims management provider in North America. Ridgemont Equity Partners backed the merger.

The combined company will continue to be led by Marc Desmarais as President & CEO and Mario Jutras.

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photo credit: PH Vitres d’Autos

News Release

Uniban Canada, PH Vitres d’Autos and Ridgemont Equity Partners Join Forces to Launch the Clairus Group

Laval, QC and Charlotte, NC – April 4, 2018 – Uniban Canada and PH Vitres d’Autos, established leaders in automotive glass distribution, fulfillment and claims management, have strengthened their expansion strategy thanks to their new partnership with Ridgemont Equity Partners, a U.S. based private equity firm. Led by the trusted management of Mario Jutras and Marc Desmarais, these organisations have launched the Clairus Group, the second largest vertically integrated automotive glass and claims management provider in North America.

The Clairus Group is a direct continuation of Uniban’s recent growth. In the past year, Uniban has added Go! Glass & Accessories, Star Auto Glass and the Docteur du Pare-Brise to its trusted family of networks. Uniban has also renewed its claims management agreements with leading Canadian insurance companies using its omnichannel Conversence claims management platform. These accomplishments, combined with the strength of Ridgemont Equity Partners, cement the Clairus Group as a leading force in the market place.

“We are proud to announce this milestone in the evolution of our organisations, which celebrate over 50 years of experience,” said Marc Desmarais, CEO and President of Clairus. “Our partnership with Ridgemont reinforces the strength of our organisation and paves the way for continued growth throughout North America and abroad. Ridgemont has deep experience in the automotive industry and shares our vision of growing Clairus’ presence into new geographies and investing in the latest technology, while remaining committed to our existing markets and core values that our customers expect.”

“Ridgemont has been investing in the transportation sector for well over a decade – from aftermarket distribution and services to third party logistics,” said Jack Purcell (Partner) and Tim Dillon (Principal) in a joint statement on behalf of Ridgemont. “The industry is very fragmented, and we seek to identify market leaders who have exemplified the ability to create scale through market penetration and M&A and who have reaped the benefits of early investment in technology. Clairus’ vertically integrated model and product flexibility will allow the Company to penetrate new markets both organically and through acquisition, while strengthening our presence in those areas where Clairus is already well established. Our capital will provide Clairus with significant firepower to pursue acquisitions and, notably, will allow the Clairus team to provide business owners looking for liquidity with highly flexible transaction structuring solutions. We are incredibly excited to back the management team at Clairus, and we look forward to executing on our growth strategy in Canada and the U.S. together.”

About Clairus Group
The Clairus Group is a leading technology-enabled provider of replacement, repair and recalibration services for automotive glass and related advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), serving vehicle owners, fleets, and insurance carriers. The Company currently operates 18 distribution centers and services its clientele through more than 220 in-bay service centers and 300 mobile units. More than ever, customers are benefitting from the Company’s automotive glass expertise and its cutting edge on-demand claims technology.

About Ridgemont Equity Partners
Ridgemont Equity Partners is a Charlotte-based middle market buyout and growth equity investor. Since 1993, the principals of Ridgemont have invested over $4.0 billion in 142 companies. The firm focuses on investments of $25 million to $125 million in industries in which it has deep expertise, including basic industries and services, energy, healthcare, and technology and telecommunications.

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Ted Liu
Ted Liu, M.Sc. (Mining), MBA (Finance), is the Editor of Private Capital Journal, TechnologyMetals.ca, GoldSilverMetals.ca, and former Editor of Canadian Private Equity. Ted has been passionately tracking Canadian private capital industry since 1992, most recently served as Research Director for The Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA). Ted is President of CPE Media Inc., an independent, trusted and unbiased data provider tracking Canadian VC/PE, private capital industry.
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