ILC Dover sets eyes on future, partners with investment firm

FREDERICA — ILC Dover, best known for outfitting every U.S. astronaut in NASA’s Apollo program with spacesuits — including the dozen that walked on the moon — has a new partner.

ILC Dover announced this week that it has joined forces with New York-based New Mountain Capital, a growth-oriented investment firm with more than $20 billion in assets under management. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

As part of the transaction, ILC Dover’s CEO Fran DiNuzzo and senior management team will remain invested in the company.

Mr. DiNuzzo said the move was made to strengthen the company’s future.

“New Mountain is the ideal partner for ILC Dover as we enter our next stage of growth,” Mr. DiNuzzo said in a statement. “This is an exciting time in our history, and we are confident that New Mountain’s proven track record of business building, while closely supporting management teams through strategic engagement is a real differentiator.

“We look forward to this partnership and the many benefits it will yield for our customers, employees and industry partners globally.”

ILC Dover, located in Frederica, is much more than spacesuits these days.

The special engineering development and manufacturing company specializes in the use of high-performance flexible materials, serving the aerospace, pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, food and beverage, aerospace and defense industries.

Besides spacesuits, other ILC products include the airbag landing devices for Mars Pathfinder and Mars Exploration Rover missions; lighter-than-air vehicles, including airships, aerostats and zeppelins; chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear masks and hood systems; and flexible powder-containment solutions for the pharmaceutical industry.

Paul Cannon, vice president of marketing for ILC Dover, said Thursday the move sets the company up for future growth.

“We’re looking forward to an aggressive growth agenda for our company moving forward,” he said.

“This is exciting for our customers and our employees. For the employees, this will be a great place to be. Everybody wants to be with a growing company and this partnership sets us up for the future.”

It’s the history of ILC’s innovation — which began in 1947 — that attracted New Mountain Capital to join the company as a partner.

“We look forward to partnering with ILC Dover as the company continues to deliver high quality, customized solutions to its customers,” said Andre Moura, managing director at New Mountain Capital in a statement. “Led by a world-class team that brings decades of expertise in their target markets, we see many avenues for growth ahead, and look forward to providing the additional resources needed to help the company continue forward on its impressive trajectory.

“In particular, we see valuable opportunities to expand ILC Dover’s leadership position in single-use solutions used in the bioproduction environment.”

ILC Dover is home to more than 700-plus employees who serve customers around the world across six facilities in North America, Europe and Asia.

New Mountain Capital officials say the firm emphasizes business building and growth, rather than debt, as it pursues long-term capital appreciation. The firm currently manages private equity, public equity and credit funds with more than $20 billion in assets under management.

New Mountain seeks out what it believes to be the highest quality growth leaders in selected industry sectors and then works intensively with management to build the value of these companies.

“Through its history of strong execution, ILC Dover has successfully established itself as a highly innovative and leading engineered solutions provider to its client partners,” said Harris Kealey, managing director at New Mountain Capital. “We look forward to working closely alongside Fran (DiNuzzo) and his team to build upon ILC’s current momentum, unlock strategic opportunities and drive accelerated growth in the attractive markets the company serves.”