DETROIT FREE PRESS
DETROIT -- Thomas Stallkamp, industrial partner with the private equity firm Ripplewood Holdings LLC, declined Wednesday to address reports that his company is in discussions with auto-parts maker Delphi Corp. and its unions that may result in a bid for the company.
"We can't talk about anything that hasn't happened yet," Stallkamp said during a question-and-answer period after his speech at a seminar in Dearborn, Mich.
Stallkamp reportedly has been leading negotiations with Delphi and the UAW for more than a year. Delphi, the nation's largest parts supplier, is in bankruptcy and has been trying to negotiate with its unions on labor costs and plant closings to restructure its operations.
During Stallkamp's speech at a seminar sponsored by the Center for Automotive Research, he talked in general about the role of private equity firms in restructuring the supply base. Private equity firms such as Ripplewood make money from buying troubled companies at a low price, then fixing them up to be profitable.
"We actually can accelerate the restructuring of the supply base," Stallkamp said. "Somebody has got to be investing in the business when it looks like it's not going to be doing well. And someone's got to try to help regenerate that business."
Stallkamp spent almost 20 years at Chrysler Corp. in a number of positions, including president and vice chairman. From 2000 to 2004, he was CEO of MSX International, a business-outsourcing firm.