Shanks sold to US buyer for pounds 235m

ONE OF BRITAIN'S oldest and best known bathroom equipment manufacturers changed hands yesterday when Blue Circle Industries sold Armitage Shanks for pounds 235m.

The buyer is American Standard, the US group whose brands include Ideal Standard, Trevi showers and the Sottini range of upmarket bath products.

The deal creates a combined group with sales of more than pounds 200m and 3,300 workers employed at 15 UK sites.

However, it could be the subject of a competition inquiry as the combined group will control 35 per cent of the ceramic bathroom products markets, such as basins and toilets, a share well ahead of rivals such as Twyfords- Doulton, owned by Caradon and Shires. The group will also have 18 per cent of the acrylic bath market.

Ideal Standard said it was confident there would not be any regulatory problems as the new group's share of the wider European market would be relatively small and imports into the UK account for 25 per cent of the domestic market.

The American company said the two manufacturers were a good fit. Ideal Standard, which is the world leader, is strong in the domestic bathroom sector.

Armitage Shanks, the UK market leader, is strong in the commercial sector with a customer base that includes hospitals, hotels and prisons.

Roger Cooper, managing director of Ideal Standard in the UK, said: "We are now number one in every sector of the bathroom market here, and the two businesses fit very well. There will be a review of synergies and best practices before any other decisions are made."

The company would not comment on possible job losses or plant closures. However, Ideal Standard's factories achieve higher productivity. They generate sales of pounds 85m from 1,100 staff at three sites. Armitage Shanks sales are pounds 120m from 2,200 staff at 12 sites including five in Staffordshire.

The deal follows an intense auction process after Blue Circle put Armitage Shanks up for sale in October. The company will use the proceeds to enhance its core operations in building products, such as cement, and in heating equipment, including Potterton boilers and Myson heaters.

Armitage Shanks was founded in 1817 in Armitage in Staffordshire as a maker of earthenware products including pots and pipes. In the 1860s it was acquired by the Reverend Edward Johns.

Blue Circle bought the company in 1980. In the year to December 1997 the group recorded profits of pounds 24.6m on sales of pounds 174m.

The deal will be one of the last corporate acts of Blue Circle's chief executive Keith Orrell-Jones, who steps down in July. He will leave a cash pile for his successor, Richard Haythornthwaite.

Blue Circle shares closed 20.25p higher at 337.75p.

COMPANY RESULTS

Name Turnover (pounds ) Pre-tax (pounds ) EPS Dividend Pay day X-div

ARM Holdings (F) 42.268m (26.580m) 9.423m (4.526m) 12.5p (7.1p) - (-) - -

Crest Nicholson (F) 465.4m (353.0m) 28.1m(20.5m) 16.60p (11.75p) 4.75p (3.75p) 08.04.99 08.03.99

Eurodis Electron (I) 146.302m (152.499m) 3.403m (3.611m) *2.79p (3.44p) 2.15p (2.15p) 06.04.99 15.02.99

Independent Energy (I) 88.22m(22.78m) 0.707m (-0.464m) 2.9p (-2.8p) - (-) - -

Internet Technology (F) 11.012m (3.97m) 0.055m(-1.96m) 0.12p (-6.61p) - (-) - -

Northamber (I) 140.851m (149.934m) 4.442m(4.261m) 8.6p (8.4p) 1.5p (- ) 04.05.99 06.04.99

Recognition Systems Group (F) 0.788m (0.773m) -2.260m (-2.255m) -6.3p (-8.1p) - (-) - -

SCI Entertainment Group (I) 3.262m (2.224m) 0.506m(-1.027m) 3.95p (-7.26p) - (-) - -

Skillsgroup (F) 208.4m (377.0m) 14.4m (-16.3m) 12.5p (-23.3p) 5.0p (4.2p) 08.05.99 12.04.99

(F) - Final (I) - Interim (Q) - Quarterly (SP) - Split Period (N) - Nine Months * Adjusted

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific