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Salter weighs in with €28m MBO

11 Feb. 2002

Barclays Private Equity (“BPE”) has backed the management buy-out of Salter Housewares Limited (“Salter”) from US owned Avery Weigh-Tronix. The company invented the very first personal weighing scale in 1897 and is recognised as a leading brand in the global household-scale market. Salter is based in Tonbridge, Kent and has in the last five years established operations in the United States and Canada. The transaction involved total funding of £18 million, which was provided by Barclays Private Equity and Barclays Leveraged Finance.  

Salter designs, sources and markets a comprehensive range of innovative electronic and mechanical bathroom and kitchen scales, body mass monitors and complementary culinary products. The company utilises modern technology and contemporary design to constantly develop and strengthen its product range. Since the late 1980s the manufacture of these products has been outsourced to a number of specialist Far Eastern suppliers. The company’s in-house design team creates the majority of products marketed and typically introduces 40 new models each year. This pro-active product development strategy provides Salter with the ability to constantly reinforce its premium branding and numerous market leading positions.  

The global market for kitchen and bathroom scales is estimated to exceed £600million with bathroom scales accounting for approximately 65 per cent of the total. Salter estimates that it currently has in excess of 40 per cent UK market share. The company distributes its products to over 100 countries worldwide and occupies market-leading positions in numerous international markets. The company’s North American operations were established in 1996 and Salter has achieved rapid penetration of this key geography, which is expected to be a driving force behind the company’s continued growth. Salter has an impressive financial track record having grown revenues by over 1100 per cent since 1979 and by over 60 per cent since 1999.  

Stephen Riley has also joined Salter as non-executive chairman. Stephen was chief executive of The Denby Group, the niche kitchenware brand. He led the management buy-out in 1990 and subsequently floated the business in 1994. He was voted MBO Venturer of the Year in 1996. Stephen’s significant experience in the development of consumer brands and design driven products is expected to be of significant value to the ongoing development of the Salter business.  

Rob Myers, who led the investment for Barclays Private Equity said: “Salter is an exceptionally strong and well recognised consumer brand with a leading position in its core markets. The company has delivered impressive growth over recent years, which has been underpinned by the consistent development of innovative design-led products and strong global distribution channels. This transaction is an exciting opportunity for Barclays Private Equity to back an experienced management team in a growth business.”   Commenting on the buy-out,

Roger Evans, Managing Director of Salter said: “We have been at the forefront of the industry for many years. With the Salter brand, high quality products, structured distribution channels and valuable market share we look forward to continuing to build upon the close relationship developed with customers and suppliers over many years. With the backing of BPE we have the opportunity to significantly grow the business and further develop the Salter brand in International markets.”  

Invex Capital introduced the transaction to Barclays Private Equity.

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