Candover exits Airtechnology Holdings

The buyout firm has sold the aerospace and defence firm to US trade buyer AMETEK

European buyout firm Candover has sold portfolio company Airtechnology Holdings Limited, a supplier of motors, fans and environmental control systems for the aerospace and defence markets, to AMETEK Inc, the US-based manufacturer of electronic instruments and electric motors. 

Candover originally acquired the firm in November 1999 when it bought three businesses which formed part of the Specialised Engineering Division of Charter plc, the engineering group. One of the other divisions was sold by Candover in December 1999 whilst rail fastenings company Pandrol remains in the Candover portfolio. Airtechnology had a turnover last year of £29m and employs 240 people.

“We are very excited about our acquisition of Airtechnology,” said AMETEK Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Frank S. Hermance.  “It significantly expands our presence in high-end technical motors and strengthens our relationships with large European-based aerospace and defense companies.”

Investment in deals by Candover is provided in two forms, from Candover Investments plc, a publicly quoted investment trust capitalised at E380m, and from funds managed by Candover Partners, a wholly owned subsidiary. The firm closed its most recent Candover 2001 Fund in June 2002, raising E2.7bn.

Recent transactions by Candover include the E1bn buyout of Belgium-based Ontex, where the firm bought a majority stake in the listed company and will launch a public offer for the remaining shares early in 2003. The firm has also acquired Kluwer Academic Publishers for E600m and Swissport, the ground handling business for E393bn.  Recent exits include the sales of PII to GE Power Systems, Regional Independent Media to Johnston Press plc and SPA Holdings to Provident Financial.