Aga firm turns up heat in US

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The Independent Online
Glynwed International, the Birmingham-based maker of Aga and Raeburn stoves, is on the hunt for a sizeable US acquisition following its failure to buy Berisford last year.

Glynwed was the mystery bidder that approached the Magnet Kitchens to Welbilt cooking equipment group last November, only to withdraw a week later.

The tentative approach, sources say, was part of chief executive Bruce Ralph's strategy to diversify Glynwed's base internationally and away from volatile commodity businesses.

The group has already been hit by lower metals prices in the first half, and has seen its shares plunge on the strength of sterling recently. The market expects flat profits of pounds 84m as a result, when Glynwed announces final results on Tuesday.

Berisford's main attraction was Welbilt, which supplies frying equipment, ice makers and other equipment to the likes of McDonald's.

Magnet would have fitted well with Glynwed's kitchen and domestic appliance activities. But Mr Ralph balked at the pounds 350m price demanded and Berisford's pre-emptive announcement of an approach.

Analysts expect further disposals following the pounds 12.5m sale of Wednesbury Tube two weeks ago. As well as the up-market Aga, Glynwed retains many traditional metal-bashing businesses. It is Britain's biggest maker of manhole covers.

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