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Equistone to acquire developer and manufacturer of engineered solutions for harsh environments, Bulgin

31 Jul 2019

Equistone Partners Europe Limited (“Equistone”), one of Europe’s leading mid-market private equity investors, today announces that it has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Bulgin, a leading UK-headquartered developer and manufacturer of environmentally sealed high-performance engineered solutions, from Elektron Technology PLC for an enterprise valuation of £105 million. Following Equistone’s investment, Bulgin will continue to be led by John Wilson, who will transition from the role of Executive Chairman to Chief Executive Officer, and its existing management team, who will acquire a minority shareholding alongside Equistone. The team will be strengthened by the appointment of Peter Williamson, who brings extensive experience of driving value in international engineering and manufacturing businesses alongside private equity, as Non-Executive Chairman. Completion of the transaction remains subject to customary closing conditions.

Founded in 1923 and headquartered in Cambridge, Bulgin develops and manufactures connectors and related components for harsh-environment applications, in sectors including industrials, transport & infrastructure and medical technology. It has locations in the UK, North America, Asia-Pacific and North Africa. The company supplies c.92,000 end users across Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific through its direct sales team and a network of third-party distributors. In recent years, Bulgin’s management has successfully invested in the development of new cutting-edge fibre and sensing products and rationalised its product range and distributor base. The business employs c.680 people and generates annual revenues in excess of £30 million.

Paul Harper, Partner at Equistone Partners Europe, said: “Manufacturing is a sector in which Equistone has extensive experience of investing in high-quality mid-market businesses. In Bulgin, we are pleased to be backing a market-leading manufacturer with a global reputation for high-performance engineered component solutions used in a range of harsh-environment applications. We look forward to working with John and his team, to build on their fantastic track record of developing Bulgin’s product range and global footprint.”

Tristan Manuel, Investment Director at Equistone, commented: “In recent years, Bulgin’s management has successfully expanded the company’s addressable market through the launch of new products, whilst continuing to drive profitability through a focus on differentiated high-margin engineered solutions. Equistone’s investment will provide the capital to support significant scale-up of new product development, fund improvements to its operational facilities and optimise the sales and distribution infrastructure, as well as to back targeted strategic acquisitions. We are excited to be working with Bulgin on consolidating its position as a leading provider of connectivity solutions.”

John Wilson, Executive Chairman of Bulgin, said: “Bulgin has transformed itself in recent years from a component manufacturer to a leading technology solutions provider with attractive margins relative to the wider sector. With its experience of backing management teams in unlocking growth potential, Equistone is the right partner to support this next stage of our development. Following the acquisition, our focus will remain on providing our customers with the growing and high-quality range of connectivity solutions for which the business is known globally.”

Paul Harper and Tristan Manuel, both of whom will join the board of Bulgin, led the investment on behalf of Equistone, alongside Will Copeland. Equistone was advised by DC Advisory (M&A), PwC (Tax), FTI Consulting (Financial Due Diligence), Roland Berger (Commercial Due Diligence), Travers Smith (Legal) and Marlborough Partners (Debt).

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