Success Stories

AST Bearings

Montville, New Jersey

Resistance-Free Growth

Tonka Bay helps a bearings distribution company fully capitalize on market opportunities.

Take a non-core division of a publicly traded company. Add a savvy private equity firm with an appetite for distribution companies. What do you get? A fruitful partnership between AST Bearings and Tonka Bay.

Founded in 1958 and most recently owned by a leading defense surveillance company, AST was not considered core to the strategy of its parent company. The company's leaders knew they could achieve greater success under a different ownership structure.

In 2007, Tonka Bay applied its distribution and corporate divestiture expertise to help AST management acquire a significant ownership stake in its company. Tonka Bay also provided AST with the capital necessary to take advantage of compelling growth opportunities present in the miniature and high-precision bearings market.

According to Tonka Bay principal and AST board member Steve Soderling, his private equity firm was eager to work with AST, because it was clear that with the proper resources, this company was destined to achieve new levels of success.

"AST has one of the strongest market positions in the bearings marketplace, made possible through a talented management team and the largest sales and marketing presence in the industry," Soderling said. "Now AST is leveraging its exclusive supplier relationships to capture even more market share and develop profitable new partnerships."

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