TOP NEWS: Laird Agrees GBP1 Billion Advent Takeover After Strong 2017

LONDON (Alliance News) - Electronics and technology firm Laird PLC announced Thursday it has ...

Alliance News 1 March, 2018 | 7:55AM
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LONDON (Alliance News) - Electronics and technology firm Laird PLC announced Thursday it has agreed a recommended cash offer for its entire business from Advent International Corp, valuing Laird at about GBP1 billion, almost double its current market capitalisation.

Advent International, via its wholly-owned subsidiary AI Ladder Ltd, has offered Laird shareholders 200.00 pence in cash per share. This, Laird said, is a 73% premium to its closing price of 115.90p on Wednesday.

The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018.

Laird Chief Executive Tony Quinlan commented: "Laird is a high-quality business, as our 2017 results demonstrate. This quality has been recognised by Advent International, and their cash offer for the group represents good value and certainty for shareholders.

"Laird's history goes back almost 200 years and the business has evolved over that time into the global engineering company of today. I believe for its next chapter, Laird will benefit from private ownership as it further strengthens its business model and looks to the future."

Laird also reported on Thursday revenue for 2017 rose 17% year-on-year to GBP936.6 million from the GBP801.6 million posted in 2016.

The company swung to a pretax profit in 2017 on a reported basis of GBP57.0 million, after a GBP122.3 million loss the year before. On an underlying basis, pretax profit was up 32% to GBP67.3 million compared to GBP51.1 million.

Net debt has been more than halved to GBP164.4 million from GBP344.6 million, with cash generated from operations rising 10% to GBP83.8 million.

Laird is not paying a final dividend due to the offer from Advent International, having paid a 1.13p interim dividend during 2017.

In Performance Materials, revenue for 2017 rose 13% to GBP448.3 million, while underlying operating profit rose 11% year-on-year to GBP47.0 million. In the Connected Vehicles division, revenue increased 26% to GBP318.6 million and underlying operating profit 22% to GBP15.9 million.

Revenue for the Wireless & Thermal Systems division was up 10% to GBP169.7 million, while underlying operating profit climbed 38% to GBP19.8 million from GBP14.3 million.

Looking forward, Laird said 2018 has begun with good underlying trading momentum with new business wins and new product launches expected to support growth.

This growth, it said, should more than offset difficulties in the premium smartphone market, though a volatile foreign exchange environment is likely to present a "significant" headwind in 2018.

On the results, Quinlan said: "Laird has made significant progress and delivered a much improved performance in 2017. In my first year as CEO, we've simplified structures, enhanced the quality of the leadership and focussed on improving the efficiency and profitability of all Laird's operations.

"These actions have delivered much improved results, and have built strong foundations for the future."

By George Collard; georgecollard@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2018 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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