Industrials sector comment – June 2012


Thamesteel, the steelwork plant on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, has been sold out of administration to a new company formed by Saudi group Al-Tuwairqi Group (ATG).

ATG had formerly owned Thamesteel having acquired the plant in 2002 from the administrator of Allied Steel and Wire. The Saudi group had invested in the facility to allow it to produce grade steel bar and billet for the construction market in the Middle East. With revenues of around £200m, the decline in demand for steel from the construction sector has resulted in Thamesteel posting losses of over £90m over the last three years.

With the European steel industry being in a period of heavy re-structuring, the likes of ArcelorMittal and Tata Steel are themselves pursuing painful plant consolidation programs. ArcelorMittal intends to shift more production to low cost countries, whilst Tata Steel is shedding on-core operations valued at up to $6bn.


Cosworth Group Ltd has acquired Adaero Precision Components Ltd, a UK manufacturer of precision engineered components. The acquisition is in line with Cosworth’s strategy of accelerating growth through the acquisition of high technology businesses which complement its existing precision engineering services.

GJD Manufacturing Ltd has acquired Advanced LED Technology Ltd, a UK manufacturer of LED lighting products. The acquisition will complement GJD’s existing range of lighting and security products.

Gardner Group Ltd has acquired Airia SA, a French manufacturer of precision engineered components for the aerospace industry. The acquisition will enhance the UK group’s presence in the Airbus supply chain. Gardner is backed by UK private equity firm Better Capital.

Fetim Group NV has acquired Aqualux Products Ltd from AFG Arbonia-Forster-Holding AG. Aqualux is a manufacturer of shower enclosures and bath screens which was non-core to the Swiss group.

EI du Pont de Nemours Co has acquired Tensylon High Performance Materials Inc from BAE Systems plc for £11.6m. Tensylon High Performance Materials is a US manufacturer of protective material for ballistic armour and commercial applications.

UK private equity firm LDC has acquired a minority stake in Bifold Fluidpower Ltd, a UK designer and manufacturer of pneumatic and hydraulic valves and pumps for the oil and gas industry. The transaction provides an exit for UK private equity firm Caird Capital.

Premier Forest Products Ltd has acquired Brooks Group Ltd from the administrator. The transaction will enable Premier Forest to reinforce presence in the timber distribution sector and enter in the Irish market.

Drew Marine Inc has acquired the Chemring Marine division of Chemring Group plc for £32m. Chemring Marine is a manufacturer of marine pyrotechnic distress signals. Drew Marine is backed by US private equity firm JF Lehman.

Alexander Dennis Ltd has acquired Custom Coaches Pty Ltd, an Australian manufacturer of passenger buses. The transaction is part of the UK group’s international expansion plans.

Ultra Electronics plc has acquired the power conversion business of RFI Corp, a subsidiary of DGT Holdings Corp, for £8m. RFI is a US manufacturer of high-voltage, power conversion subsystems designed for industrial, medical, military and other commercial applications.

UK private equity firm Baird Capital Partners has acquired e2v Scientific Instruments Ltd and e2v microsensors SA from e2v technologies plc for £14.7m. e2v Scientific Instruments is a developer of gas sensing equipment, whilst e2v microsensors SA in Neuchetel, Switzerland is a developer of x-ray spectroscopy sensors and gas sensing equipment for automotive and environmental safety applications. The two businesses will form a new company called SGX Sensortech Ltd.

Silverdell plc has acquired EDS Group Holdings Ltd, a UK provider of decommissioning and dismantling services for the chemicals, oil and gas, petrochemical, pharmaceutical and power generation industries. The £15m transaction will accelerate Silverdell’s planned expansion into Canada and Australasia and open up significant cross-selling opportunities.

Hill & Smith Holdings plc has acquired Expamet Building Products Ltd, the UK manufacturer of structural fixings, joist hangers and restraint straps for a range of building applications. The acquisition is a good strategic fit with the UK group’s Birtley Building Products business.

Rolls-Royce plc has acquired the remaining 50% stake in Aero Engine Controls Ltd (AEC), a joint-venture with Goodrich Corp. AEC is developer of engine controls which will give Rolls-Royce full ownership of a critical capability.

US private equity firm AEA Investors has backed the secondary buy-out of Industrial Acoustics Co Ltd, a UK developer and manufacturer of acoustic and noise control products. The transaction provided an exit for UK private equity firm MML Capital Partners.

RG Industries LLP has acquired Invotec Group Ltd, a UK manufacturer of high technology speciality printed circuit boards for the aerospace and defence industries. RG industries is an investment vehicle created by Rubicon Partners, Grovepoint Capital and Investec.

The geotechnics business of itmsoil Holdings Ltd has been the subject of a management buy-out. The company has doubled in size in the last two years with turnover forecasted to reach GBP 30m for 2012. The company is actively pursuing opportunities to acquire additional skills and businesses.

Filtrona plc has acquired Lymtech Scientific Inc, a US manufacturer and distributor of porous speciality wiping materials used in clean environments. The £29m acquisition will extend Filtrona’s porous fibre manufacturing technology and enhance the commercial capability of the Porous Technologies division by providing a distribution selling channel and access to attractive growth markets.

Schneider Electric SA has acquired M&C Energy Group Ltd, a UK provider of energy procurement and sustainability services. M&C will complement the offerings and geographical presence of Summit Energy Services Inc, a US player in this segment acquired by the French group in 2011. The transaction provides an exit for UK private equity firm Lyceum Capital.

Barrett Steel Ltd has acquired Parson and Crosland Ltd, a UK steel stockholder. The group has also acquired Austin Trumanns Ireland Ltd, an Irish distributor of steel products. The acquisitions will allow Barrett Steel to expand its range of products and services.

A group of private investors has acquired Peter Grant Papers Ltd, a UK manufacturer of paper disposables and non-woven products.

Weatherford International Ltd has acquired Petrowell Ltd, a UK provider of design, engineering and testing services for oil and gas completion tools.

Marubeni Corp has acquired Spaldings Holdings Ltd, a UK distributor of agricultural and groundcare replacement parts, tools, and accessories. The acquisition will enable Spaldings to expand in international markets thanks the to the Japanese group’s global distribution operations.

Stemcor Holdings Ltd has acquired SteelTeam Oy Ab, a Finnish provider of steel trading services. The acquisition is in line with Stemcor’s strategy to expand down the steel supply chain and increase its operations in the Scandinavian markets.

Thamesteel Ltd has been bought out of administration by Al-Tuwairqi Group Ltd. Thamesteel is a UK steel manufacturer.

TVH Group SA has acquired Tractiv Group Ltd, a UK distributor of replacement spare parts, tools and accessories for agricultural machines from GB Ricambi SpA. The £23m acquisition will reinforce the Belgian’s group’s range of aftermarket services for off-highway vehicles.

Vossloh AG has acquired Transys Projects Ltd, a UK engineering consulting solutions provider relating to the maintenance and enhancement of rail rolling stock. The sale provides an exit for Maven Income and Growth VCT plc and will enable Transys to expand in to new and larger markets as part of an international engineering group.

Amec plc has acquired Unidel Group Pty Ltd, an Australian provider of consulting, engineering and technical services for the mining and oil and gas industries. The £17m acquisition will build on AMEC’s presence in Australia.

Intertek Group plc has acquired VIGALAB SA, a Chilean provider of minerals testing services. Vigalab will be integrated in to Intertek’s Commodities division and will allow the UK group to expand its services in Latin America.

Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH has acquired WFEL Ltd, a UK designed and manufacturer of mobile bridges for commercial, defence and humanitarian applications. The provided an exit for UK private equity firm Dunedin Capital Partners.

A consortium of investors have supported a growth capital investment of GBP 4m in ZiLift Ltd, a UK provider of artificial lift solutions for the oil and gas industry. The consortium includes Energy Technology Ventures, a GE-NRG Energy-ConocoPhillips venture and existing investors Chevron Technology Ventures, Energy Ventures, Jebsen Asset Management, Investinor and Viking Venture.