H.I.G. Capital News


Charles Hanemann
Managing Director
H.I.G. Capital, L.L.C.

Neil Tuch
H.I.G. Capital, L.L.C.

H.I.G. Capital Makes Strategic Investment in Personal Optics and Acquires Lantis Eyewear

September 1, 2004 - H.I.G. Capital, a Miami-based private equity firm, announced today that it has completed a recapitalization of Sun Glass Products Inc. (d/b/a Personal Optics) and, in partnership with the Personal Optics shareholders, acquired the assets of Lantis Eyewear Corporation.

Personal Optics and Lantis Eyewear will join forces to form a new, market leading designer, marketer and distributor of eyewear. The combined companies will have a leading market presence in reading glasses, sunglasses, and optical frames across a broad range of channels. Personal Optics and Lantis sell under a strong and diverse portfolio of licenses including Dockers, Caribbean Joe, ESPN, X-Games, Mudd, Seventeen, Mary-Kate and Ashley, Jordache, Beverly Hills Polo Club, Nintendo, and PGA Tour., in addition to their strong private label business.

Personal Optics and Lantis will each maintain their own corporate identity and will be organized as separate divisions under a common holding company. This structure will facilitate each company maintaining focus on its target markets and customers while benefiting from the substantial scale and resources of the combined businesses. The combined companies will generate revenue approaching $200 million and through H.I.G. Capital will have access to substantial capital to finance growth through internal initiatives and acquisitions.

“We are very enthusiastic to join in partnership with H.I.G. Capital to create a major player in the eyewear market,” commented Andy Kahn, Chief Executive Officer of Personal Optics, who also will be C.E.O. of the combined entity. “We have been exploring options to grow Personal Optics to a new level while maintaining our commitment to our customers and believe these transactions accomplish that goal and will be an exciting opportunity for our employees, customers, and licensors.”

Scott Sennett, Senior Vice President of Sales of Lantis Eyewear, added, “We are very pleased with the outcome. Lantis’ new owners are committed to continuing Lantis’ long-standing commitment to customers and licensors in the department store, mass merchant, specialty store, and optical channels of trade. Preservation of the sales and design culture at Lantis is a priority for us as we work with the Personal Optics team and H.I.G. to capitalize on the best of both organizations.”

Charles Hanemann, a Managing Director of H.I.G. Capital, concluded, “These transactions mark milestones in the history of each of these companies. We are thrilled to be partnering with the management teams of both companies to bring together Personal Optics and Lantis. We expect the combination of these companies will be a major force in the eyewear industry in the coming years.”

H.I.G. Capital is a leading private equity and venture capital investment firm with more than $1.5 billion of equity capital under management. Based in Miami, Florida, and with offices in Atlanta, Boston, and San Francisco, H.I.G. is one of the most active private equity investors in small and medium-sized companies. H.I.G. invests in management-led buyouts and recapitalizations of well-established and well-managed manufacturing or service businesses with attractive growth potential, and in promising early stage technology companies. Through its Bayside Opportunity Fund, H.I.G. is also an active investor in restructurings and turnaround situations. Since its founding, H.I.G. has made more than fifty highly successful investments, acquiring companies with combined revenues in excess of $5 billion. For more information, visit H.I.G. Capital’s web site at http://www.higcapital.com.