September 2, 2008

Buyout Opens Way to Growth


NORTH Wales-based global chemicals group Warwick International has been bought by its management team in a pounds 129m deal backed by London-based Close Brothers Private Equity and a banking syndicate led by The Royal Bank of Scotland.

The buyout team was headed by Warwick International's managing director Bob Ellis along with sales director Barry Tilby, finance director Steve Williams and operations director Doug Lovatt.

Close Brothers has invested pounds 55m in the deal, and a further pounds 85m in senior debt and working capital was provided by the RBS-led banking club including Barclays, HSBC and Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets.

Warwick International was put up for sale by US parent company Sequa Corporation which had been sold to private equity group Carlyle.

It is a global leader in the manufacture of oxygen-based bleaching systems for the detergents and biocides industries. Its core product is the key ingredient in many of the world's leading detergent products, including washing powder and dishwasher detergents.

Established as a start-up operation at Mostyn in 1979, Warwick International now has annual sales of pounds 180m. It exports 95% of its output to 60 countries worldwide.

The company also owns a growing network of niche chemical distributors in Europe and Asia.

Warwick employs a total of 380, including 205 at Mostyn, and the buyout team is confident it will be able to increase employment at the Welsh site, although it is not saying by how many.

Mr Ellis said: "The most important considerationwhen undertaking the MBO was continued stability for the business and our clients. The structure of the deal provides us with the continuity to drive the business forward.

"We are very excited by the prospects. We see significant growth and investment opportunities for the company as a result of this deal, particularly at our base in Mostyn."

He added: "We hope in the future to expand our existing detergent manufacturing plant and invest in an advanced polymer technology facility based on joint research and development with recently- formed technology company, Revolymer."

Chris Thomas, RBS associate director, said: "This deal combines the knowledge of the existing management team with the corporate finance expertise of Close Brothers."

Mathew Hutchinson, investment director at Close Brothers Private Equity, said: "With the support of CBPE and the RBS banking club the management teamare set to re-invigorate and grow the business."

Mr Hutchinson joins the board alongwith SandyDobbie, who becomes non-executive chairman.

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