WEYBRIDGE, ENGLAND — Construction components group Caradon plc is branching into higher-tech fields with planned acquisitions of Brand-Rex Ltd. and Eff-eff KGaA. Weybridge-based Caradon said it expects to pay 259 million ($409 million) for both firms by early April. Brand-Rex of Glenrothes, Scotland, is Europe's second-largest producer of structured cable systems for the data communications market. Eff-eff, based in Albstadt, Germany, manufactures fire and burglar alarms.
Their addition significantly will boost Caradon's position in "intelligent" building systems. The restructuring British group now comprises four divisions: electrical, plumbing, aluminum extrusions and security printing.
"We are doubling our already-strong position in fire and intruder alarms in Germany, while entering the higher-growth data communication cabling business. These businesses can be grown more rapidly under our management," said Jurgen Hintz, Caradon group chief executive.
Caradon expects to pay 145 million ($229 million) for Brand-Rex. The firm makes fiber-optic and copper-based cables finished with PVC and other sheathing for offshore, mass-transit, aerospace and automotive applications. It operates three large plants: in Leigh and Helsby, England; and in Glenrothes. It also has plants at Subic Bay in the Philippines, and in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
A Brand-Rex spokeswoman said the firm employs almost 2,000 and has "hundreds" of sheathing extrusion lines and a worldwide distribution network. Data communications accounts for about 70 percent of sales, but Brand-Rex also serves a number of high-tech niche sectors, she added.
In 1999, Brand-Rex reported operating profit of 10.7 million ($17.3 million) on sales of 135 million ($218 million), according to Caradon.
Eff-eff Alarm is Germany's top maker of burglar alarms and has a substantial share of the national market for fire alarms. Its production sites include Lugoj, Romania, and Albstadt.
Caradon said Eff-eff had 1999 operating profit of 10 million ($16 million) on sales equivalent to 43 million ($69.5 million). Caradon expects to pay 114 million pounds ($180 million) for the company.