ABN AMRO snaps up Dunlop Aircraft Tyres

ABN AMRO Capital, the private equity business of Dutch bank ABN AMRO, has bought a 74.6 percent stake in Dunlop Aircraft Tyres for about £40 million.

Wealthy French entrepreneur Rene Charvillat has sold Dunlop Aircraft Tyres, a UK maker of tyres for the aerospace sector, to European buyout firm ABN AMRO Capital for what is thought to be £40 million. ABN AMRO Capital has bought a 74.6 stake in the business while the management team, led by chief executive Stuart Smith, owns the other 25.4 percent.

Paul Southwell, managing partner of ABN AMRO Capital’s UK buyout team, said: “We fought off some trade interest in Charvillat’s auction of Dunlop – and some private equity competition from LDC and Barclays Private Equity.”

Dunlop designs and manufactures tyres, principally for commercial aircraft, and generated sales of £25 million in 2006. The Birmingham-based team makes more than 100,000 tyres each year.

Southwell said: “We were attracted by Dunlop’s niche market position, its prospects of international expansion, and the fact that aerospace is a growth sector.”

ABN AMRO Capital’s other deals in the aerospace sector include Page, a UK maker of aerospace lighting and cockpit controls, which the firm bought in 1999 and exited earlier in 2007 for £40 million.

The firm has €2.5 billion under management with offices in the UK, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy, Sweden and Australia. The Dunlop deal is the firm’s third UK buyout of 2007 and its sixth European buyout.