UK industrial rubber products market sealed up

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LDC-backed Icon Polymer Group has acquired its competitor, Silvertown Group, in a £10 million deal financed by the private equity firm.

Both businesses manufacture and supply specialist technical rubber products to a broad customer base including companies in the pharmaceutical, defence and automotive industries.

Icon is based in Retford, Nottinghamshire whilst Silvertown Group is based in Burton upon Trent.

The deal marks the next stage in a growth strategy which has seen Icon successfully integrate three previous acquisitions – William Warne, Northern Rubber and a division of Contitech VC, over the past four years.

The acquisition of Silvertown will boost the business’ turnover to £35 million and will significantly increase Icon’s presence in its core product sectors.

LDC had stakes in both the Icon Polymer Group and Silvertown and will hold a significant minority share of the enlarged business.

The mid-market private equity firm backed the MBO of Icon in June 2000 from William Warne and in 2001 funded the MBO of Silvertown from Unipoly BV.

The Icon Polymer Group employs over 350 people and Silvertown, which was established in the early 19th century, employs a further 200.

The combined business now plans to invest further in IT systems, improving and upgrading equipment and will focus on building its presence in international growth markets.

Jonathan Simm, regional director at LDC, said: “Silvertown is an established name with a strong pedigree in the specialist rubber market. It is a great fit for Icon and will enhance the enlarged firm’s product portfolio as well as its technology, knowledge and skills base.

“This deal is an important element of Icons’ ambitious growth plans and gives it greater capabilities in the aerospace sector and growth markets around the world.

“For LDC it was a case of matching up two successful firms from our portfolio of businesses which could compliment each other and, when combined, provide huge growth potential. LDC will continue to work closely with the management to ensure this impressive expansion is maintained over the coming years by capitalising fully on opportunities to penetrate new markets.”

Adrian Peckham, director at Lloyds TSB Corporate Acquisition Finance provided debt for the acquisition and commented; “this is the third transaction that we have completed with Icon Polymer Group and shows our continued support for its acquisition strategy.”

Icon Chief Executive and major shareholder, Richard Gogerty, said: “Silvertown is an excellent fit for Icon. Because both companies work in the same core market sectors and have highly complimentary operations, the critical mass of Icon’s key divisions will be boosted significantly.

“We have a strong track record in the successful integration and development of the businesses we acquire and this deal provides us with a strong platform to continue building the global expansion of the Icon Polymer Group.

“The support and funding the management team have received from LDC since the buyout has been crucial to implementing Icon’s successful strategy of acquisition and impressive organic growth.”

The Icon Polymer Group was advised by Clive Broadhurst at KPMG.

Legal advice was provided by Rob Metcalfe of Browne Jacobson in Nottingham and due diligence by PMSI.

Clearwater advised the Silvertown shareholders.