Montagu buys Survitec from Alchemy

Montagu Private Equity, the mid-market European investor, has acquired Survitec, a survival technology company, from fellow private equity firm Alchemy Partners for £146m.

Montagu Private Equity has completed the secondary buyout of Survitec Group from Alchemy Partners in a £146 million (€217 million; $267 million) deal.

Survitec was originally part of Wardle Storeys, the UK engineering group acquired by Alchemy in a £123 million public-to-private in 1999. It then became part of Air Sea Survival Equipment, which was demerged from Wardle Storeys in February 2002.

Based in Dunmurry, Northern Ireland, Survitec designs, makes, distributes and services safety and survival equipment for the marine, military, aerospace and homeland security markets. The firm, which supplied lifeboats to the US Navy during the Iraq war, employs over 1,000 staff at its seven manufacturing sites and 13 service and distribution outlets around the world.

Its brands include RFD, Beaufort, DSB and Eurovinil and the product range encompasses the likes of air-beam shelters, pilot flight equipment, life rafts and submarine escape suits.      

“Our long-term strategy continues to focus on making the survival difference in dangerous and hazardous environments,” said Uel McChesney, chief executive of Survitec. “We will build on our market leading positions in numerous survival equipment areas worldwide.”

“Survitec has an attractive mix of predictable core earnings combined with growth from survival products with superior technology that have recently been brough to market,” said Simon Pooler, who led the deal from Montagu’s Manchester office alongside Anthony Greensmith. Both have joined the Survitec board as non-executive directors.

Montagu, which has over £2 billion under management, was advised on the transaction by Deloitte (financial) and Hammonds (legal). Barclays Bank in Manchester provided debt funding for the deal.

London-based Alchemy Partners has achieved a spate of exits in 2004. Last month alone, it sold hotel chain Paramount Hotels to Dawnay Shore Hotels in a £215 million deal that delivered around 2.4 times cash invested; and sold nursing home operator Four Seasons to Allianz Capital Partners in a £775 million transaction that delivered four times the original capital.

No-one from Alchemy was immediately available to verify its return from the sale of Survitec.