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01/17/2005 - Platinum Equity Acquires Boyd Coddington Wheels; Hires Robert Swelgin To Lead American Racing

LOS ANGELES (January 17, 2005) – Platinum Equity announced today that it has acquired Boyd Coddington specialty wheels from NRG Motorsports, Inc., a manufacturer and international distributor of automotive aftermarket parts and accessories.

Platinum also announced an executive appointment involving its flagship company in the automotive aftermarket, naming Robert Swelgin as the new chief executive officer of American Racing Corporation, the industry leader in high-performance automotive wheels. The company was acquired by Platinum in July, 2005.

In completing the transaction to acquire the Boyd Coddington business, Platinum purchased the portion of NRG that designs, manufactures and markets premium aluminum wheels and acquired a license to use their corresponding trademarks – “Genuine Boyd Coddington Wheels,” “Boyd's Wheels,” and “Boyd Coddington” – exclusively within the wheels market place.

The deal also establishes a consulting agreement with Boyd Coddington, Sr. who will assist American Racing with wheel designs, sales efforts, marketing, event appearances and promotions. Coddington, a nationally recognized auto enthusiast specializing in automotive restoration and customization, is the founder of NRG and host of the Discovery Channel television show “American Hot Rods.”

“Platinum has now acquired two strong brands and businesses in the automotive wheel aftermarket. We intend to position them to leverage each other's strengths and capitalize on complementing synergies,” explained Bob Wentworth, executive vice president for Platinum Equity. “American Racing will bring its extensive distribution network and strong operating infrastructure to the relationship. Boyd Coddington and his team will add innovation in wheel design, additional grassroots credibility within the auto enthusiast community, and the power of the Boyd Coddington nameplate, a premium brand within the wheels industry.”

In addition to closing the Boyd Coddington acquisition, Platinum also recently completed a national executive search with the hiring of Robert Swelgin as the new CEO of American Racing.

Swelgin was previously vice president of operations for Panasonic Automotive Systems, a $1.3 billion automobile audio systems manufacturing business. He was instrumental in helping Panasonic Automotive increase revenue by 40 percent and profitability by 150 percent over a three-year period while the rest of the industry was experiencing severe price erosion. Swelgin also brought significant operating efficiencies to Panasonic, reducing manufacturing cycle time by 30 percent and on-hand inventory by 50 percent. Earlier in his career, Swelgin held positions as chief operating officer at Galtronics Corporation, an international manufacturer of antenna and wireless products, and he was part of the executive team at Tyco International's Flow Control Division serving as vice president of manufacturing and president of the organization's India and China operations.

“We're committed to growing and diversifying American Racing, and Bob Swelgin is a leader who can make that happen,” said Rob Joubran, chief operating officer and treasurer for Platinum Equity. “Bob's past achievements speak volumes about his operational expertise and leadership abilities. We're excited about the prospects of Bob guiding American Racing to similar results.”

Swelgin replaces Joe D'Angelo, vice president of portfolio asset management for Platinum Equity. D'Angelo served as interim CEO of American Racing while Platinum conducted its search for a permanent executive to lead the business.

About Platinum Equity
Platinum Equity (www.platinumequity.com) is a global M&A&O® firm specialized in the merger, acquisition and operation of companies that provide services and solutions to customers in a broad range of business markets, including information technology, software, telecommunications, logistics, manufacturing, and entertainment distribution. Since its founding in 1995 by entrepreneur Tom Gores, Platinum has built a multi-billion-dollar portfolio of operating companies with 40,000 employees and 600,000 customer sites throughout the world. Platinum was also recently named the 18th largest private company in the United States by Forbes magazine.

About American Racing
American Racing Equipment, Inc. (www.americanracing.com) is one of the leading producers of lightweight, high performance aftermarket wheels. American Racing brand lines include American Racing Vintage, American Racing Pro Series, American Racing Muscle, ATX Off Road, as well as related brand lines Twenty Inches Strong (TIS), Dropstars, Motegi Racing, Motto, Riax Performance Alloys, Imola and RO_JA Motorsports. The company virtually launched the custom wheels craze in the early 1960s with the introduction of its five-spoke "Torq Thrust" wheel, considered by many enthusiasts to be the most famous custom wheel of all time. Today, approaching its 50th anniversary, American Racing produces a wide-ranging line of more than 100 precision crafted alloy wheel styles, including the newly released ATX series of Teflon coated off-road wheels.

http://www.americanracing.com/news/press.asp?section=press&cmd=view&articleid=82