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Lombard ends successful relationship with Somboon

Lombard Investments says it has fully exited its investment in Somboon Advance Technology, one of Thailand’s leading auto-parts manufacturers, earning a return of 3.5 times its investment.

In 2004, Lombard was the first institutional investor to back what was then a privately held family company. It worked with the family to launch a successful initial public offering and build its parts business for cars and light trucks, while diversifying into agricultural-equipment parts.

For the first quarter of this year, Somboon’s sales reached a record of US$59 million (Bt1.75 billion).

Somboon’s president, Verayut Kitaphanich said: “Mr Surasak Khaoroptham of Lombard has been an invaluable member of our board since we were a private company, and we have requested that he remain as an independent director after Lombard’s divestment.

“We’ve received valuable strategic and operational advice from Lombard, and formed a deep, professional relationship that we wish to continue.”

Lombard is a leading international manager of private-equity investment with offices in Bangkok, Hong Kong and San Francisco, and extensive working relationships in Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, Shanghai and Taipei.

Formed in 1985, Lombard has made more than 90 controlling and significant minority investments throughout Asia and North America.

The firm’s investors include some of the world’s largest and most respected financial institutions, major pension funds and corporations, as well as family investment offices in Asia, North America and Europe.

The investment in Somboon was made through Lombard’s Thailand Equity Fund.

As the core of the Somboon Group, Somboon Advance Technology and its subsidiaries rank among Thailand’s leading first-tier OEM (original equipment manufacturer) suppliers of auto parts.

Established in 1941, Somboon began as a dealer and trader of vehicle parts. As the business grew, the company pioneered the local manufacturing of automotive spring products in 1962, one of the first such manufacturers in Thailand.

Somboon later started manufacturing driveshaft, brake, engine and suspension parts, with an emphasis on the 1-tonne pickup segment.

Recently, Somboon has entered the electric and agricultural vehicle sectors.

The company has served major auto-makers, including Toyota, Honda, Isuzu and Mitsubishi.

Source: The Nation

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