Alchemy takes £2 chance on CompAir

Alchemy has snapped up CompAir from Invensys in the latest in a series of disposals for the technology and energy management group.

UK turnaround specialist Alchemy Partners has acquired the air and gas compression systems business from Invensys for a nominal fee. It is understood that Alchemy paid £2 for CompAir, which generated sales of £205m for the year to March 2002.

The business, which made a loss of £12m for the same period, is the latest in a series of disposals for the energy management group. Since September 2001, Invensys has undertaken a series of disposals totalling £750m as it looks to pare back its debt pile which had reached £3.3bn late last year.

Invensys undertook a restructuring of CompAir in 2001, spending £7m in the process in addition to the £12m the firm lost during the period. Invensys will retain an 18 per cent stake in the firm, although the nominal price suggests that Invensys had given up on its own ability to salvage the firm. A source close to Alchemy described the deal as “one of those situations where people effectively give us a business to have a go at the restructuring.”

Alchemy is likely to inject ‘upwards of £40m’ into restructuring the business. The acquisition is subject to EU regulatory approval and is expected to complete by the end of June.