Close Brothers exits from Amber Doors

Swedish trade buyer Cardo has bought the Yorkshire-based manufacturing business for £15m.

Close Brothers Private Equity (CPBE) has exited its investment in Amber Doors, a Yorkshire-based manufacturer of industrial doors. The firm and management have sold their interests to Cardo, a Swedish manufacturing group for £15m.

CBPE declined to disclose financial details for the deal, but the Yorkshire Post reports the sale generated a positive return on investment for the firm, which in 1998 invested £4m in a 40 per cent stake at a time when the business was valued at £10m.

Amber makes doors for industrial, security and fire safety uses and has ten repair depots around the country. It lists retailers Carphone Warehouse and Dixons as customers, and is also responsible for providing equipment for projects such as the Eurostar terminal in London Waterloo and the stadium in Manchester where the Commonwealth Games will be staged later this year. It has an annual turnover of about £16m and is expected to make a £3m profit for 2002.

According to Cardo, the purchase will strengthen its position in the UK industrial doors market. The company plans to build on Amber’s portfolio of national customers and expand its repair business.

CBPE was first drawn to Amber because of its high specialist manufacturing and support services profile, said Neil Murphy at CBPE. “Amber Doors has always been an innovative developer of market leading products as well as running a tight manufacturing facility. Where other businesses have failed to serve their customers, Amber has always provided a quality service,” he said.

Specialist manufacturing is a key area of investment for CBPE, and it has been busy in this area over the last few months. At the start of December 2001, the firm backed the MBO of the UK-based fragrance chemicals business of US group International Flavors & Fragrances for an undisclosed sum.

CBPE is the private equity investment business of Close Brothers Group, the listed UK merchant bank. The business was established in 1984 and invests between £10m and £50m.
In the last two years, the firm has invested in deals worth around £250m. CBPE, which manages over £300m, is currently raising funds for CBPE Fund VI.

PricewaterhouseCoopers advised Amber Doors’ management and CBPE on the exit. Hammond Suddards Edge were the legal advisors.