Sentinel and management acquire Cottman Transmission Systems

NEW YORK, August 3, 1999 - Sentinel Capital Partners and management today announced the acquisition of Cottman Transmission Systems, Inc. in a transaction valued at $50 million. Sentinel originated and sponsored the acquisition, arranged the debt and provided equity financing.

Cottman, headquartered in Fort Washington, PA, is a franchisor of automotive transmission centers that repair, remanufacture and service transmissions and related component parts.

Cottman opened its first transmission repair center on Cottman Avenue in Philadelphia in 1962. With more than 265 centers in the U.S. and Canada, Cottman, the "Transmission Physician", operates one of the largest chains of transmission service and repair centers in North America. Cottman has earned many industry awards and has been consistently ranked among the top franchise organizations in the US.

Cottman is growing by aggressively franchising new centers and by selectively acquiring independent transmission repair chains. Several favorable industry trends are fueling Cottman's growth: an aging US vehicle population; increased popularity of front wheel and four wheel drive vehicles that have more complex transmissions; a return to high performance/high output engines that place more strain on transmissions; greater use of computers in automobiles that make transmission repair a more specialized and costly service.