Atlas Copco Buys Edwards Group for $1.6 Billion
Sweden's Atlas Copco is buying British vacuum pump specialist Edwards Group for up to $1.6 billion in cash as tries to offset deteriorating profits from its mining engineering business, it said on Monday.
CEO Ronnie Leten said he first looked at buying Edwards in 2006, but in 2007 private equity firm CCMP bought it for 460 million pounds ($720 million), listing it last year and keeping 84% with its associate Unitas.
Edwards - the market leader in chemical and semiconductor industry pumps - is Atlas Copco's first big buy since 2007 when it acquired road-compactor maker Dynapac for almost $1 billion.
"It is a great segment to be in. It's a $6 billion market, and it is still growing," Leten said on a call with analysts.
"This project is a real growth project. Of course, there are cost synergies, but the main driving factor for us is to create synergies within sales and services from compressors and vacuums," said Leten, whose firm has more than 40,000 employees.
Edwards, whose competitors include Japan's Ebara and Gardner Denver in the United States, employs more than 3,200 in 20 countries and had revenues of 595 million pounds in 2012, or about 7% of Atlas' sales.
Revenues, however, were down from £701 million in 2011 while operating earnings fell 30% to 114 million.
A third of Edwards' revenues come from the United States and more than half from Asia. Just under 30% of Atlas Copco's revenues are from Asia and Australia, 20% from North America and 30% from Europe.
According to Thomson Reuters data Atlas Copco will pay 7.2 times Edward's expected earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for 2013. That compares with European industrial deals of about 7.8 times EBITDA this year and 10.5 times EBITDA for such deals in the United States.
Other large-scale engineering deals this year include France's Schneider Electric buying British engineer Invensys last week for 3.4 billion pounds ($5.2 billion) and private equity firm KKR & Co LP agreeing in March to buy Gardner Denver for $3.5 billion.
The deal is scheduled to close in the first quarter.