Investment Approach

Case Study : Pittsburgh Glass Works

As a North American supplier of automotive glass products to a domestic client base, historically Pittsburgh Glass Works struggled with a legacy manufacturing footprint that restricted its ability to compete for new business and profitably grow. Crafting a combined strategic roadmap of asset redeployment, and client and geographic diversification, Kohlberg partnered with me and my management team to become a one-world, low cost suppler-of-choice to the global automotive market. "

James D. Wiggins - Chief Executive Officer
Company Description:
Pittsburgh Glass Works, L.L.C. (the “PGW”) is the leading manufacturer and supplier of automotive glass products and services in North America. The Company, which was founded in the early 1900s, supplies original-equipment-manufacturer windshields, rear and side windows, sunroofs and assemblies to auto and truck manufacturers, and supplies and distributes replacement automotive glass products for use in the aftermarket. 

Compelling Situation:

  • Divisional carve-out of PPG Industries (“PPG”)
  • Non-core asset to PPG; enabled PPG to retain a 40% interest as Kohlberg executed an aggressive plan to bring cost efficiency and world-class manufacturing capability to the business
  • Kohlberg Operating Partner Jim Wiggins brought significant management resources and automotive experience to the transaction

    Kohlberg Actions:

    •  Built new management team around new CEO (Kohlberg Operating Partner Jim Wiggins)
    •  Management took immediate and decisive action to preserve PGW’s leading aftermarket presence and restructure its manufacturing operations
    •  Removed significant cost through manufacturing, distribution and labor rationalization measures
    •  Focused on core design and market leadership capabilities; built new, world-class manufacturing plants in US and Poland to service record backlog of new business wins
    •  Further globalized operating footprint through greenfield JV in China
    •  Through accretive divestiture of claims servicing division, streamlined the business model to become a pure play automotive glass company


      • Repositioned as global leader in manufacturing capabilities, leading to significant new business wins and investment in capacity expansion
      • Cost improvement plan and incremental revenue resulted in 100% improvement in EBITDA
      • Successfully divested claims servicing business at highly accretive multiple
      • Executed a dividend refinancing to return significant profit to investors while maintaining conservative capital structure and leverage

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        Photography courtesy of C. Bernstein & MGF