Cattron Group International Sold for $90 Million

Remote control firm Cattron Group International, Sharpsville, Pa., has been acquired by Laird, Plc., headquartered in London, for a cash consideration of $90 million on a debt and cash-free basis, with the consideration to be satisfied from Laird's existing banking facilities.  Laird, an electronics and technology company which employs around 12,000 people in North America, Europe, and across Asia, is publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange.

Cattron is a leading designer and supplier of wireless control and automation products, systems, and aftermarket services for the global industrial, rail, and mobile markets. The acquisition will allow Laird to expand its wireless machine-to-machine offering, building on its acquisitions of AeroComm, Inc. and Ezurio Limited in 2007 and 2008 respectively, as well as providing technology, product development and revenue synergies.

For the year ended September 30, 2010, Cattron's unaudited revenues were $53.8 million and unaudited adjusted underlying operating profit before interest and tax was $10.7 million. This represents an increase over the previous year of 35 percent, and results in an operating profit margin for the year of 19.9 percent. Unaudited gross assets at September 30, 2010 were $41.8 million. The acquisition is expected to represent significantly enhanced earnings for Laird in 2011.

In the year ended September 30, 2010 approximately 43 percent of Cattron's revenues were from new products and systems, and 57 percent were from aftermarket services and spare parts.

The acquisition will allow Laird to move further into more complete, software-driven products and systems. Cattron's future revenue growth is expected to be enhanced by market share gains as a result of its own new product development programs, the evolving new applications for wireless control and automation systems globally, the replacement programs planned by its North American and European customers for their own existing systems, and greater penetration of emerging markets.

"The acquisition of Cattron will further Laird's strategy of diversifying its customer and market base, and our ability to provide systems and aftermarket services to customers, said Peter Hill, Laird CEO. “The market for wireless control and automation systems continues to grow. Cattron is well placed to participate in this growth, while its combination with our existing wireless systems business is expected to provide further opportunities. Cattron has attractive financial characteristics, including high operating margins, low capital intensity, and a significant proportion of aftermarket revenues, providing a sound base from which to develop further its businesses. Laird's own financial position will remain strong following the acquisition."

John Paul, CEO, Cattron, said the company “is very excited to join Laird, a truly world-class company.  Laird’s strength in wireless communications technologies, global operational capabilities, and access to growing international markets, will help Cattron to reach the next level of providing the best in safety and productivity solutions to our customers."

Laird is a broadly based global electronics and technology company, supplying a wide range of markets and applications. It is a leader in the design and supply of customized, performance-critical products and systems for wireless and other advanced electronics applications.