A Swiss pumpmaking giant has put in a £127.5 million offer to buy out the parent of Birmingham-based electrical equipment refurbishment firm Dowding & Mills.
Sulzer and AIM-listed Castle Support Services, the holding company of Dowding & Mills, have agreed a recommended cash offer of 108p a share for Castle, representing a premium of 44 per cent to the closing price the day before the announcement.
Dowding & Mills employs 980 UK staff, of which 200 are Midlands based, and a further 420 in the US, Australia and Dubai.
Sulzer said it sees Dowding & Mills as a complementary firm to its current offer and added there were no plans for major restructuring or significant changes in the location of Dowding & Mills operations.
The Swiss group has said it intends to increase its focus on service, and that the purchase of Dowding & Mills will boost the Sulzer Group’s service sales.
Tudor Davies, executive director at Castle Support Services, said: “Sulzer is impressed by the skill, know-how and performance of Dowding and Mills, Boothams, EMS, Dickson Dowding and Mills and its employees and especially the service culture and ‘can do’ attitude.
“I joined Dowding and Mills over seven years ago and with the help of every employee and the assistance of the management team in particular Tim Barrett (group finance director) and Colin Brewster (operations director), this group has been transformed from an underperforming business in a parlous financial state to a very strong and growing profitable business.
“We have all together taken the business from profits of around £5 million per annum with debts of circa £40 million in 2004 to a business today with no debt and net cash of approximately £4 millon in the bank and profits of circa £17 million per annum, even in one of the world’s worst recessions.
“It is now very pleasing to be able to combine with Sulzer to make Dowding & Mills the international force it should be and this is down to the hard work and commitment of everyone around the group.
Dowding & Mills is set to become part of Sulzer’s Turbo Services division.
“We believe that is an excellent fit and that there will be considerable opportunities for growth,” said Mr Davies.