MSA Buying Latchways plc, National Safety Apparel Acquires TECGEN

Two deals on the eve of the National Safety Council's Congress & Expo this month will give those companies' representatives plenty to talk about with attendees.

This year is turning out to be a good one for safety industry mergers and acquisitions, with two of the latter announced Sept. 1, less than four weeks before the National Safety Council's 2015 Congress & Expo opens in Atlanta's Georgia World Congress Center. All four of the companies involved in those two acquisitions are exhibitors there, and the two deals involve two of the hottest safety product categories of late: fall protection and FR apparel.

MSA Safety Inc. (NSC booth 2515) announced it is paying approximately $191 million for Latchways plc (booth 1639), a UK-based manufacturer of horizontal and vertical lifeline systems for fall protection, in a deal that "doubles MSA's global fall protection business, positioning MSA as one of the largest fall protection providers globally," according to MSA's announcement, which described fall protection as "one of the largest and fastest growing product segments of the global safety market."

Ten weeks ago, on June 23, 3M (booth 2319) announced it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Capital Safety (booth 2439), also a leading provider of fall protection equipment, for a total enterprise value of $2.5 billion, including the assumption of approximately $700 million of debt, net of cash acquired.

Also on Sept. 1, Cleveland, Ohio-based National Safety Apparel (booth 2953) announced that is has acquired Greenville, S.C.-based FR apparel manufacturer TECGEN (booth 743) from INVISTA Ashburn Hill LLC. Terms of this deal were not disclosed by National Safety Apparel, which is privately held.

MSA said Latchways was founded in 1974 and is listed on the London Stock Exchange. It reported revenues of approximately $51.2 million for the financial year that ended March 31, 2015. Latchways has about 250 employees. The acquisition is expected to close in October 2015, pending the approval of Latchways shareholders. "This acquisition accelerates a key element of our corporate strategy and our core product focus in that it extends our fall protection product offerings, particularly within the area of engineered systems," said William M. Lambert, MSA's chairman, president, and CEO. "Equally important, MSA stands to benefit from Latchways' innovative products and technology, which ultimately strengthens our combined new product development pipeline. Collectively, these benefits will broaden our opportunities in the utilities, telecom, construction, and aircraft market segments, further balancing MSA's market strengths in the oil and gas and fire service industries."

National Safety Apparel's announcement said TECGEN brand products will be promoted to National Safety Apparel's distributor‐partners in con conjunction with existing brands that include ArcGuard®, Carbon Armour™, Arc H2O™, and CARBONCOMFORT™. Chuck Grossman, president and CEO of National Safety Apparel, said the acquisition "further strengthens NSA's position as the leader in high‐performance FR garments. We continue to look for strategic acquisitions that complement our organic growth in the protective clothing markets that we serve."

NSA manufactures arc flash, flash fire, heat & thermal, cut, and high-visibility apparel and FR/AR rainwear.

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