Electra puts Capital Safety on the market for £500m

UK firm Electra Private Equity is putting its safety equipment manufacturer up for sale for £500m and is thought to have attracted interest from private equity group Advent International and safety equipment companies Aearo and Norcross Safety.

Electra Private Equity, a listed UK mid-market private equity firm, is selling US-based safety equipment manufacturer Capital Safety, a spokesman said.  It is understood that the firm is setting a price tag of £500 million (€758 million; $984 million).

Capital Safety: fall protection equipment

Close Brothers Corporate Finance is advising Electra, a spokesman said.  No other advisors have been appointed.

He said: “The business is going well and the prospects for the market are strong, particularly in the European market.”

The Financial Times, a UK daily paper, reported Advent International, a global private equity group, is likely to bid.  Capital Safety would be Advent’s only safety equipment business in its portfolio.

The newspaper also said Aearo, a safety equipment manufacturer owned by private equity firm Permira and Norcross Safety, a safety equipment manufacturer for the US fire service, owned by US private equity firm Odyssey Partners, are thought to be potential bidders.

A spokesman for Electra said the firm is not necessarily looking for a private equity buyer. 

In the year to 31 March 2006 Capital Safety achieved sales of £83.6 million, a £7.1 million increase on 2005.  Its manufacturing sites are based in the US, Canada and France.

Electra invested £30.3 million in the £102 million management buyout of Capital Safety in 1998 and refinanced the business in 2005, injecting £18.4 million, a statement said.

In January 2006 Capital Safety bolted on Unique Concepts, a fall protection and confined space equipment manufacturer, through its subsidiary, DBI-SALA, a rescue equipment manufacturer, for an undisclosed amount.

This morning Electra’s share price rose 52p to 1620.00p.