CBPE exits Hamilton Acorn

The private equity firm has exited one of its longest-standing investments via a trade sale.

Close Brothers Private Equity has sold its stake in one of its longest-standing investments, paintbrush supplier Hamilton Acorn, to Swedish firm Anza, also a manufacturer of painting tools. The value of the deal has not been disclosed but Close has said it made two and a half times its investment.

This move creates the largest manufacturing group for paint applicators and decorating tools for the professional market in Europe. Neil Murphy of CBPE, who has been on the board of Hamilton Acorn as non-executive director since 1996, said: “Hamilton Acorn is another successful realisation from our 1994 fund and we are delighted that it has been acquired by Anza. Since the management buy-out, the management team has developed a well-positioned business and highly efficient manufacturing operation.”

A source at Close Brothers told PEO that the exit has been a successful one. “We’ve been with them almost five years, management has grown the business well and as we agreed at the time of the buy-out, it was a five year play.

“The aim was to consolidate on its major market share in its trade sector and develop increasing volumes of business on the retail side of things with companies such as Focus Do It All and Great Mills. And to significantly improve the performance and efficiency of the factory, which has also happened,” he said.

Dennis Marrison, managing director of Hamilton Acorn, added: “Anza's intention is to secure a leading position as a manufacturer of painting tools in the currently fragmented European market and this acquisition is the first in a series planned by the group.”

Three of Hamilton Acorn’s directors bought out the company in 1996 with Close Brothers' backing. Since that time the company has grown sales, market share and profits.

Anza is the leading manufacturer and distributor of painting tools in Scandinavia. It owns Spekter of Denmark and has production facilities concentrated in Sweden and Denmark. Anza is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Norwegian group Jordan which had a turnover in 1999 of £80m.