The Business Engineer

by Paul Carslake

{{DEAL WATCH: Mail-sorting buys from FKI lead the engineering sector’stop deals announced in May

THE COMPANY THE DEAL PRICE DATE EFFECTIVE

FKI (UK) acquired Crisplant Industries (Denmark) £187m MayHalifax-based FKI bought Danish maker of high-speed mail sortingsystems. In a separate deal (listed below), FKI bought IGC,specialising in parcel sorting equipment

McKechnie (UK) acquired Western Sky Industries (US) £163m May

IWK (Germany) acquired BWI (UK) £86m May

ICW Group (UK) management buyout of electrical switchgear firm £43m May

Invensys (UK) acquired Marcam Solutions (US) £38m May

FKI (UK) acquired Industry General Corporation (US) £33m June

Tyco Flow Control (US) acquired Precision Tube Businesses of Senior Engineering Group (UK) £32m MayTyco took Senior Tube and Tube Components of Oldbury from Senior,which will use the proceeds to invest in flexible metal tubingbusiness for aerospace and car industry

Aalberts Industries (Netherlands) acquired heat treatment business of Senior Engineering Group (UK) £25m May

Fairey Group (UK) acquired Servomex (UK) £20m MayProcess technology group Fairey, based in Egham, Surrey, boughtServomex, a manufacturer of industrial instrumentation systems basedin Crowborough, Sussex

Volex Group (UK) acquired power cord division of Belden (US) £16m May

IGG Component Technology acquired byMBO/MBI team, with £3.3m investment from 3i Southampton £11m May

Bodycote (UK) acquired (via materials testing division) LJ Broulman (US) £6m May

ERF Holdings (UK) acquired Bedford Parts Business (UK) £6m MayCheshire truck manufacturer ERF’s acquisition includes design rightsto build Marshall Specialist Vehicles’ Class 8 utility cab andminibus chassis

Source: Corpfin}}

Halifax-based FKI made two acquisitions within a week, both makers of high-tech mail and parcels sorting equipment. The engineering group aims to become world leader in materials handling, a sector which it expects will grow rapidly as home-shopping via the internet takes off.

Denmark’s Crisplant was snapped up for £187m, while Industry General Corporation, bought for £32m, brings in clients including Federal Express and UPS.

McKechnie, meanwhile, expanded its aerospace interests with the £162.4m purchase of parts supplier Western Sky Industries. It plans to sell its consumer products division, which makes DIY products.

Invensys (formerly BTR/Siebe) moved further into software with the £38m purchase of US-based Marcam, a manufacturing control and enterprise asset management software provider. Invensys said this was part of its strategy to build its automation and control interests. The deal fills a gap in the Wonderware software portfolio, bought by Siebe in 1998.

Senior Engineering sold its non-core heat treatment arm to Dutch firm Aalberts Industries, underlining Senior’s commitment to focusing on its Flexonics pipe systems for the aerospace and automotive industry. It also sold its precision welded tube operations to acquisitive US firm Tyco. The heat treatment deal makes Aalberts the UK market’s second largest player in the technology (behind Bodycote) and makes it market leader in Spain and Germany.