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Ruddick Corp. Sells American & Efird To KPS Capital Partners

Charlotte-based holding company Ruddick Corp. will sell its subsidiary American & Efird Inc. (A&E), Mount Holly, N.C., to KPS Capital Partners LP, New York City, through a newly created affiliate, A&E Global. The $180 million acquisition is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2012 and is subject to closing conditions.

A&E — a manufacturer and distributor of industrial sewing thread, embroidery thread, technical textiles and consumer products — has been in business for 120 years and operates 31 manufacturing sites and 76 distribution points in 41 countries. Its sewing thread is used in apparel, automotive components, home furnishings, medical supplies, footwear and industrial products, among other applications; and many of its products are certified according to Oeko-Tex® Standard 100.

Ruddick's other primary business is Harris Teeter Inc., a regional chain of supermarkets located in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic United States. In announcing the sale, Ruddick stated that with its considerable growth in Asia, A&E has become more of a complex international manufacturing company and no longer strategically fits in Ruddick's business portfolio with Harris Teeter.

"This transaction allows the management team and their associates at A&E to continue to pursue their strategic plan of transforming A&E into a more Asian-centric enterprise, which has been years in the making, said Thomas W. Dickson, president, CEO and chairman of the Board, Ruddick Corp.

"We are excited to create a new, independent A&E Global," said Michael Psaros, managing partner, KPS Capital Partners. "Rarely have we seen a North American enterprise so successfully globalize by capitalizing on its numerous competitive advantages and following its customers abroad, while still retaining its core values. The company is ideally positioned to benefit from the growth of the world's fastest growing markets."

November/December 2011