ABN soars from Page

ABN AMRO Capital has agreed to sell Page Group, the UK avionic equipment manufacturer, to Hamilton Sundstrand, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation of the US. Financial details have not been disclosed.

The sale marks the end of a seven year investment period, during which time the company’s revenues increased from €27m to €34m. The purchase by Hamilton is also the first time since 1991 that the business has not been in the hands of private investors.

Created in 1942, Page makes lighting and cockpit control equipment for the commercial aircraft industry, with a client base that includes Airbus, Boeing, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Saab and Qantas. It was acquired from AB Electronics through a management buyout (MBO) backed by a syndicate of institutional investors in 1991.

Gresham then led another MBO in 1996 through the Eagle Star Co-Investment Plan fund, paying around €6.5m as part of a €27m transaction before ABN acquired Page in 1999.

Paul Gibbs, CEO of Page, said: “ABN AMRO Capital has been a very supportive shareholder. Despite difficulties faced by the aerospace sector post-9/11, they have backed our continued investment in interior product development, allowing us to become a strong player in cabin interior lighting. This is an important strategic acquisition for Hamilton Sundstrand. Our combined product suite allows the business to provide better value to our customers by offering nose-to-tail aircraft systems.”

The sales is ABN’s sixth this year, following on from the summer sales of broadcasting specialists Radio Holland Group (RHG) and Röntgen Technische Dienst (RTD), which earned the firm returns of 3.7x and 9.5x respectively. ABN also made a 4.7x return on the divestment of telecom installation and maintenance business Sogetrel in February. The company was sold to management and Barclays Private Equity.