February 9, 2021

Karman Acquires AAE Aerospace

DALLAS, Texas; LOS ANGELES, California

Karman Missile & Space Systems (“Karman”), a Trive Capital (“Trive”) portfolio company, acquired AAE Aerospace (“AAE” or the “Company”). AAE is a leading manufacturer of high temperature composites for the missile, interceptor, and space sectors.  The Company provides ablative and insulative advanced materials bonded to a variety of critical metallic structures, including nose cones, heat shields, rocket motor nozzles, and motor cases. The addition of AAE with Karman’s existing capabilities allows for end-to-end production, including precision machining, metallic forming, and high temperature composites, combining all the steps used to build critical propulsion sub-systems.  The senior leadership team of AAE will continue as equity holders and executives at Karman.

David Stinnett, Partner at Trive, stated “AAE has an exceptional reputation, team, and market position in composite technologies for missile and space. The acquisition of the Company is a significant step forward for Karman, allowing us to deliver more complete subsystems bonding the mating portions of metallic and composite structures. This partnership also adds coveted content positions on the most strategic rocket, missile defense, and hypersonic platforms, while opening up significant cross selling opportunities for Karman.”

The Company is the market leader in the design, engineering, and manufacturing of ablative composites, insulative composites, filament-wound composites, and other components used on next-generation rocket-propelled space, missile, and hypersonic platforms.  AAE’s differentiation is underpinned by extensive proprietary process IP, establishing the capability as an irreplaceable piece of the rocket motor propulsion supply chain.  The Company’s products are used to create thrust during launch, protect the larger platform as it exits (or re-enters) earth’s atmosphere, or provide an insulative casing around critical systems.  The team at AAE leverages the latest advances in materials science, working directly with OEMs to manufacture components out of carbon, ceramic, and silicone composites among other materials.

“We are pleased to have found like-minded partners in Trive and the Karman team members, in building a leading platform to the missile and space sector. Our management group believes in the Karman thesis, which is dedicated to investing in capacity, technology and alleviating critical supply chain constraints — we are eager to put the momentum of AAE behind this vision,” commented Norm Christensen, Chief Strategy Officer of Karman and former owner of AAE. “This transaction creates significant opportunity for AAE’s dedicated employees, allows us to continue to grow our capabilities and capacity, and brings new solutions to our OEM partners.”

Lazard Middle Market advised Karman on its debt financing and D.A. Davidson advised Karman on the acquisition.

About Karman

Karman Missile & Space Systems (www.karmanmss.com) is one of the largest independently owned suppliers of flight hardware and complex sub-assemblies to the space, missile, and hypersonic markets. The Company provides design & engineering, precision machining, large part forming, thermal coating, and sub-assembly services while actively adding new capabilities in collaboration with customers.


About Trive

Trive Capital is a Dallas, Texas based private equity firm with more than $7 billion of regulatory assets under management. Trive focuses on investing equity and debt in what it sees as strategically viable middle-market companies with the potential for transformational upside through operational improvement. We seek to maximize returns through a hands-on partnership that calls for identifying and implementing value creation ideas.

The Trive team is comprised of seasoned investment professionals who have been involved in over 100 middle-market transactions representing in excess of $6 billion in revenue across Trive’s targeted industry sectors and situations.

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