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NABI Acquires Optima Bus; Cerberus to Acquire Blue Bird

Date

September 4, 2006

Article

North American Bus Industries Inc. of Anniston, Ala., acquired Optima Bus Corporation of Wichita, Kan., on Aug. 21. NABI had been acquired by Cerberus Capital Management LLP in February 2006. Terms of the recent transaction were not disclosed.

In addition, on Aug. 25 Blue Bird Corporation announced the signing of a definitive agreement to be acquired by an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management. Terms were not disclosed regarding the transaction, which is expected to close in September.

When the acquisitions are complete, Cerberus Capital will own NABI, Optima, and Blue Bird. A NABI spokesperson noted that Cerberus has had little effect on the day-to-day operations of the company, noting, "It's been pretty much business as usual, but with more funds and more resources."

Robert Shaughnessy, chief executive officer of NABI, said of the acquisition of Optima that "the newly combined organization will be a full-service transit bus manufacturer providing the market with a complete range of buses from 30 foot to 60 foot." He continued, "The acquisition represents two market leaders coming together to utilize the core competencies of each company in order to produce even more durable, higher-quality transit vehicles."

Regarding Optima's current orders and parts, Chief Executive Officer Michael Monteferrante said, "At this point, we're operating full speed forward at the same pace and focus as we have been all along. The acquisition by NABI is a very exciting opportunity for all companies involved."

Optima will continue to offer its current product lines, which will still be manufactured in Wichita. Products include the 30-foot and 35-foot Opus low floor bus and the American Heritage Streetcar, along with new products to be offered in the future. The company said its acquisition will allow for investment in product development opportunities, due to an infusion of capital. Optima will incorporate its sales and aftermarket parts departments into those of NABI.

NABI produces and sells a complete line of standard and low floor, 35-foot, 40-foot, and 60-foot articulated transit buses, available with diesel, compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, or diesel hybrid-electric propulsion.

Cerberus Capital Management LLP, headquartered in New York City, and its affiliated entities manage funds and accounts with capital in excess of $16 billion. Headwaters MB LLC served as the exclusive financial advisor to Optima in connection with its transaction, and Kroll Zolfo Cooper LLC served as the exclusive financial advisor to Blue Bird.

Date Added

11/20/2006

Date Edited

11/20/2006

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