Tomkins buys rival lawnmower maker

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The Independent Online
TOMKINS, the diversified industrial group, is marking the imminent arrival of spring with the dollars 115m ( pounds 77m) purchase of a rival North American power lawnmower manufacturer.

It is buying the Outdoor Products and Dynamark Plastics business of Noma Industries of Toronto, Canada, which had combined sales in 1993 of dollars 239.4m.

Outdoor Products makes power mowers, garden tractors and snow- blowers, sold mainly into the US with the balance split between Canada and Europe. Dynamark makes custom mouldings for Outdoor Products and other Noma companies.

The products are manufactured in two modern facilities in Tennessee and Ontario.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval in the US and Canada. Tomkins currently holds about 30 per cent of the US power mower market through its Murray Ohio subsidiary.

Greg Hutchings, Tomkins' chief executive, said he was unable for the moment to divulge details of either the profits or the market share of Outdoor Products, but he expected the deal to be self-financing quite quickly.

He said the purchase would give Murray Ohio 'critical mass' and allow cost savings in administration and marketing. At the same time snow-blowers, which provide 25 per cent of Outdoor Products' sales, would give Murray Ohio a valuable counter-seasonal activity.

The purchase price has been set at a fixed discount of dollars 11.75m to the companies' net assets, currently agreed to be dollars 127m but subject to adjustment after a joint audit of the balance sheet as at 4 March. Tomkins drew on its cash resources for the purchase and is also taking on long-term debt of dollars 16.7m and operating lease liabilities of dollars 12.4m.