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Ansell divests boot business

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ISELIN, N.J.—Ansell Ltd. has sold its Onguard protective boot business to Dunlop Industrial and Protective Footwear Inc. to focus more on its core operation.

Included in the transaction is On-guard's production plant in Havre de Grace, Md., according to an Ansell spokesman. Financial details were not disclosed. Onguard has annual sales in the $30 million range.

This is Dunlop's first manufacturing plant in the U.S. Most of its footwear production is handled at the firm's factory in the Netherlands. It does have sales and service operations in the U.S., said Mary Steinebrunner, general manager of Onguard.

Presently, Dunlop has several large end users and distribution partners in the U.S., she said. Combining Onguard with Dunlop “offers much more potential for growth,” she added.

Formerly part of BarrierSafe Solutions International Inc., which was purchased by Ansell in January 2014, Onguard has been run largely as a stand-alone business, has performed well and increased in value since it was purchased, Ansell said.

“We remain focused on the execution of our strategic priorities, and divestiture of the Onguard brand is a step to concentrate on the body protection business to segments we can lead globally,” according to Magnus Nicolin, CEO and managing director of Ansell, which is headquartered in Iselin in the U.S. and Melbourne, Australia, globally.

He said the sale enables the company to focus on the globalization of its range of chemical clothing for its industrial, chemical, oil and gas, and life science customers. The firm, long noted for its hand protection products, has been growing in the body protection sector since it purchased BarrierSafe.

Dunlop Industrial and Protective Footwear, a U.S.-based subsidiary of Dunlop Protective Footwear Holdings, headquartered in Raalte, Netherlands, said it bought the Onguard business for a number of reasons:

• To accelerate its growth in the U.S.;

• To enhance the premium position of the Onguard product range, featuring boots made with both elastomers and polyvinyl chloride, and further expand its capabilities; and

• To gain more avenues for its proprietary Purofort technology through On-guard's wide distribution network.

Dunlop also said the geographical coverage of both companies is complementary with a strong presence in dedicated market segments and partnerships with-in the sector.

Currently, Onguard produces and sells more than 1 million pairs of boots annually, Steinebrunner said. In order to secure future growth, she added, future investments in production facilities will be under consideration.

Combined, the two companies produce and sell more than 7 million pairs of safety boots globally, according to the firm. Dunlop and Onguard primarily serve the agriculture, food processing, general industry, oil and gas, and mining industries.

Onguard “has the same strong heritage, focus and determination like we have,” Dunlop CEO Allard Bijlsma said. “Our collective market knowledge, brand equity, innovation resources and people will safeguard the best interests of our valuable partners and customers now and in the future.”

He said the acquisition fits perfectly with the company's expansion strategy.

Firm unveils light duty glove

Ansell, in an earlier separate move, came out with a new hand protection offering: a light duty glove called Alpha Tec 58-128 for workers exposed to irritant contact fluids found in the workplace.

It said the glove offers optimal performance and flexibility and features Ansell Grip technology, which allows for more precise handling of small oily or wet parts, helps to relieve hand fatigue, and improves dexterity, safety and productivity.

Alpha Tec is designed with thin nitrile technology to provide a barrier for superior hand protection against oils and other irritant fluids, including selective chemical risks with forearm splash protection, the company said.

Its ergonomic construction combines a flexible open weave knit liner and stretch nitrile formulation coating to provide better dexterity and tacticity for prolonged periods of wear for workers, according to Ansell.

It said the glove conforms to the shape of the wearer's hand, enabling natural movement and reducing hand fatigue.