Invensys Sells Paper-Tech Group As Part Of Divestment Plan

LONDON: UK engineering group Invensys PLC is selling its paper-technology group to venture capitalists Apax Partners & Co. for 491 million pounds (US$810 million). The sale is expected to close in November and is subject to regulatory approval. Invensys, which was formed earlier this year by the merger of BTR and Siebe, will reinvest $18 million to retain a 10% equity stake in the paper-technology unit. "While paper technology does not fit our strategy, it is a fine business which has been consistently profitable, and we wish them well," a company statement notes. Apax is one of the world's biggest private-equity groups, managing or advising 22 funds worldwide totaling more than 5 billion euros (US$5.39 billion). The paper-technology unit posted pretax profit of $112 million before taxes on sales of $437 million in the year through August. The business includes: Stowe Woodward, a maker of large rollers used in paper mills, and Weavexx, which turns out coverings for the rollers. The unit has 38 plants in 17 countries and 3,400 employees. "Our divestment program continues with this important transaction, and total proceeds are now 565 million sterling," says Allen Yurko, chief executive of Invensys. "The disposal reinforces our strategy of focusing on automation and controls, which is where we see the greatest opportunity for the continued growth of Invensys."

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