Britax International plc has been sold in a management buyout for £441 million ($617 million).
Britax operates three manufacturing divisions focused on the areas of safety and transportation, each involved in plastics molding.
The board of the Warwick, England-based engineering firm accepted the cash bid from Seton House Acquisition Ltd.
Chief Executive Officer Bernard Brogan, who is part of the buyout team, said Britax has three excellent businesses in strong worldwide markets with good growth prospects. He highlighted the success of the aircraft components division, which has three plants in England and one in Wales.
``No radical changes are needed [at Britax]. All three Britax divisions have opportunities for expansion, and geographically some investment is needed. Maybe we will add new capacity, through investment in our existing operations or by acquisition. There are certainly opportunities for consolidation available to us in all markets,'' Brogan said in a telephone interview.
The aircraft components unit is enjoying growing sales thanks to Britax's bed-style seating, which was first used in British Airways' first-class sections.
The bed-style seating now is spreading to business class and is being picked up as standard with a number of other airlines, Brogan said.
In the United States, Britax just opened a child car-seat plant in Charlotte, N.C. Across the company, Britax makes about 50 percent of its plastic components in-house and outsources the rest, Brogan said.
In addition to Brogan, the new owners, backed by Royal Bank Private Equity Ltd., include finance director Mark Ellsmore and commercial director Stephen Duffield. Royal Bank Private Equity is a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc.
The takeover follows a board review of ways to boost the company's share price. That process started almost a year ago, when Britax pulled out of the competitive automotive parts market, selling its rearview mirror business for $310 million to Reitter & Schefenacker GmbH of Esslingen, Germany.
``The issue that sets things in context is that as a public company we felt Britax was undervalued on the market,'' Brogan said. He took over the helm at Britax in November.
In 2000, Britax reported a pretax profit of £45 million ($63 million) on sales of £430 million ($602 million).