Unifrax Agrees to Purchase Saffil
Unifrax will pay an undisclosed price to buy Super Saffil Ltd. and Saffil America from Dyson Group Plc of Sheffield, England. Saffil develops, makes and sells high-temperature polycrystalline wool materials to customers worldwide for use in industrial insulation and automotive emission control products. The business is divided into Saffil Automotive and Saffil Fiber, and its prominent product lines includehigh-alumina fibre and Ecoflex. Saffil has manufacturing operations in the United Kingdom and South Africa, as well as regional offices in the United States, Japan and China, and sales representation in Brazil. It has about 300 employees worldwide who will join Unifrax, but it will remain based in Widnes, England. Unifrax’s insulation products are used in many high-temperature industrial, automotive and fire-protection purposes. It employs about 1300 worldwide, with 17 manufacturing plants in the United States, Europe, Asia and Latin America. The acquisition will combine the manufacturing and conversion technologies of Unifrax and Saffil to create a stronger global business in the automotive catalytic converter market. Saffil’s products complement those of Unifrax and Saffil’s markets are strategically important to Unifrax. Saffil has grown rapidly in the past two years and gained market share, especially in the European heavy-truck market and in the fast-growing economies of Asia and South America, its CEO, Mark Briscoe, noted in a statement. David E. Brooks, president and CEO of Unifrax, noted that Unifrax plans to “make a substantial capital investment in the Saffil business” to support its long-term growth plans, creating jobs and boosting international sales.The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter, if antitrust regulators approve (07/2011).