LONDON — British industrial conglomerate BTR plc has announced the first major sell-off of its $4.5 billion nonengineering business with the sale of the bulk of its Polymeric Products group in a £515 million ($870 million) management buyout.
The buyer is Unipoly SA, a Luxembourg-based consortium, composed of the former BTR division's executive team led by Chief Executive Officer Laurence Cant, backed by venture capital firm Legal & General Ventures and Japan's Fuji Bank Ltd.
Unipoly said it plans to grow the acquisition globally and some or all of it may be in line for a public stock offering in three to five years. The new management will look at possible further purchases.
Meanwhile, Ian Strachan, BTR CEO, said the firm has received strong interest in the remaining nonengineering businesses earmarked for sale, including its packaging and materials operations.
The Polymeric Products group includes four divisions:
BTR Dunlop Belting, making rubber-based conveyor belting in the United Kingdom, mainland Europe and Australia. It will become Unipoly Enerka BV of Drachten, the Netherlands.
BTR Fluidhandling, manufacturing industrial hoses, fittings and assemblies under the Hiflex name. It will become Unipoly Hiflex Ltd. of Pontefract, England.
Schlegel Sealing and Shielding, producing nonautomotive door- and window-sealing systems, engineered products for copier brushes and electro-magnetic insulation. It will become Unipoly Schlegel Inc. of Rochester, N.Y.
BTR Composites comprises eight firms in Switzerland and the United Kingdom that make products for the automotive, construction and defense industries. Its new name is Unipoly Industrials BV in Winchester, England.
The acquisition involves 32 subsidiaries with operations in 15 countries employing 5,414. For 1996, the businesses had sales of $796 million, according to London-based BTR.