Powell Duffryn’s new owner plans disposal of engineering division

Port services and engineering group Powell Duffryn has agreed to a takeover which will lead to the disposal of its engineering operations.

The £507m agreed bid is from Prestige Acquisitions, financed by Nikko Principal Investments, the European finance arm of Japan’s Nikko Securities.

In a statement, Powell Duffryn said Prestige intended to refocus the business on its ports and transport related business.

Powell Duffryn’s senior management will remain to allow the engineering businesses to be separated and sold off.

Powell Duffryn announced in July that it had received indications of interest both for acquiring the engineering operations and the whole company.

Its engineering division comprises a marine arm, Hamworthy KSE; compressor maker Hamworthy Belliss and Morcom; combustion technology subsidiary Hamworthy Combustion; and waste disposal equipment maker Geesink.

The group has plants in the UK, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, China and Singapore. Its engineering interests employ around 2,500 of Powell Duffryn’s worldwide total of 4,200 staff. In the year to the end of March the company made a profit of £57m on turnover of £410m. Turnover of its engineering division, at £263m, was nearly twice as much as the contribution from ports and port services but profit from engineering was only £25.5m to ports’ £32.5m.

Prestige, which offered a 40% premium on Powell Duffryn’s share price, has received undertakings to accept its offer from nearly 30% of the company’s shareholders and has bought another 15% of the shares on the open market.