Nuts and bolts business Trifast was yesterday back on the expansion trail after snapping up fastener distributor Serco Ryan from Wyko Holdings in an £18 million deal.

Trifast, which employs 70 people in Wednesbury, said the deal involved a cash payment of £16 million plus a contingent £2 million in shares.

It will be part funded by a placing and open offer of new Trifast shares to raise around £6.75 million.

Jim Barker, Trifast's chief executive, said: "The acquisition represents an excellent strategic fit for Trifast. Serco Ryan's business is complementary to Trifast's with limited overlap.

"Its well balanced customer mix will consolidate our market position and add new sectors such as railway, boatbuilding and construction-related business.

"With Serco Ryan, we have the opportunity to enhance margins, to increase utilisation of our Asian manufacturing base and to capitalise on the experience of the combined workforce to develop further both in the UK and overseas."

Mr Barker said that having completed a restructuring programme, Trifast was now concentrating on expanding its business both organically and by acquisition.

One of the East Sussexbased group's core business areas is the supply of industrial fasteners and small components to the telecoms and electronics industries.

However, Mr Barker said that much of this market had been subject to relocation to lower cost economies abroad.

Serco Ryan, which operates a 90,000 central warehouse at Hartlebury, near Kidderminster, operates in complementary sectors of the UK market. Much of its sales come from the railway and boat-building industries, the general industrial market and the building industy. Its customers include train maker Bombardier, boat-builder Sunseeker, and Solihull-based Aga.

Mr Barker said that Trifast considered these industries "stable" and unlikely to relocate overseas.

Additionally, Trifast said it believed the strong management team at Serco Ryan would enhance its ability to expand not only in the UK, but overseas.

The group added that Steve Auld, the current managing director Serco Ryan, would join its board as an executive director once the takeover had been completed. Trifast, which is currently building a new factory near Shanghai in China, added that it expected the acquisition would be " significantly earnings enhancing" in its first full year of ownership of Serco Ryan.

Advisers to Trifast included Rothchilds and Charles Russell. Hammonds in Birmingham and Midlands-based Jasper Corporate Finance advised Wyko.