Restructuring at engineering and industrial group BTR took another step forward last week with the £510m disposal of its aerospace businesses.
BTR Aerospace Group, which takes in Standard Aero, Dunlop Aviation, Aero Engine Equipment and Dunlop Precision Rubber, was sold to Europe’s largest venture capital group, Doughty Hanson, for a price equivalent to 9.8 times 1997 pre-tax profits. The group had sales of £246m last year.
The aerospace business, formed in 1985 when BTR bought Dunlop, specialises in aftermarket sales, repair and overhaul.
Doughty Hanson said the business would retain its present management but would be renamed Dunlop Standard Aerospace. Each of the four businesses, which employ a total of 2,750 staff, will be run autonomously.
Bob Hamaberg, who becomes the group’s chief executive, said the new owners would inject capital and arrange extra finance for growth. The aim is to float in three to five years’ time.
‘Doughty Hanson has a reputation for investing in market-leading companies and helping them fulfil their potential,’ said Hamaberg. ‘Their backing will give us the opportunity to continue our spectacular growth in our four business areas.’
The Aerospace Group is mostly based in the Midlands, with other operations in the US and Belgium. Wheel and braking systems manufacturer Dunlop Aviation Division has its main base in Coventry, with other sites at Heathrow, and in the US and Belgium. Dunlop Precision Rubber has two sites in Shepshed and Bagworth, Leicestershire. Aero Engine Equipment, which makes heat exchangers and bleed valves, has sites in Coventry and Birmingham.
US-based Standard Aero, an independent small aircraft repair company, is one of the top three in the overhaul market, with a large share of the market for each type of engine it services.
BTR has floated off several subsidiaries since 1991 and aims to sell off companies with a combined turnover of £2.8bn. Last year it sold 33 firms to management in a £515m deal that offloaded net assets worth £180m.
Doughty Hanson’s investments include Elexis, a German holding company for nine engineering businesses, formed from the rump businesses of Daimler Benz/AEG. It was acquired in 1995 and is now set for a listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange this autumn.
Its previous acquisitions include Winkler & Dunnebeir, a printing machine manufacturer in Germany.