RED BANK, N.J.—Ansell Ltd. plans to purchase Comasec S.A.S. and its subsidiaries for about $125 million to expand its base in the personal protective equipment glove market.
A manufacturer of specialized gloves for both industrial and household applications, the Comasec group of companies has production facilities in Malaysia and Portugal that have the capacity to manufacture more than 200 million pairs of gloves annually, an Ansell spokesman said. It employs about 1,200.
“From a strategic perspective, Comasec ticks all the boxes,” according to Ansell CEO Mangus Nicolin. “Comasec's gloves complement and extend Ansell's industrial and specialty markets' product ranges, its brands and people are well regarded in Europe, especially, and its culture will fit well with Ansell's.”
The transaction is expected to close in October, depending on how long it takes to receive regulatory approval. Once that happens, Comasec and its subsidiaries will slowly be integrated into Ansell, the spokesman said, a process that could last several years. It likely will become part of the company's industrial and specialty markets business.
The spokesman said Ansell's immediate focus will be to get to know the Comasec business, the employees and the firm's customers.
“Integration activity will commence once the transaction closes and Ansell will be examining all options to bring together the best of Ansell and Comasec,” he said.
While the Comasec management team is expected to join Ansell, the spokesman said the company will introduce some changes to ensure that the appropriate structures and resource requirements are in place in the merged operation.
“However, it is simply too early at this point to say what those changes will be as they will be decided upon as part of the integration plan,” he said.
Nicolin said there are opportunities to cut costs with Comasec on board, “but this acquisition, more than anything, helps us to strengthen our industrial and specialty markets businesses.”
Pascal Berend, Comasec's owner and CEO, said he sold the business, which has annual sales of about $123.6 million, because independent personal protective equipment glove makers were getting snapped up by major multinationals and China had made a big splash in the market in the last several years with the emergence of new glove companies.
“I am pleased that Comasec is joining forces with Ansell, the recognized world leader in protective gloves,” he said. “This combination will generate many opportunities to accelerate growth and innovation while continuing to provide quality products and services to our customers.”
Gennevilliers, France-headquartered Comasec's two brands—Comasec and Marigold Industrial—cover a wide range of hand protection products, everything from cotton gloves to rubber biological and chemical protection offerings aimed at those involved with handling hazardous compounds.
Marigold and Comasec use natural rubber and nitrile in many of their glove lines.
The heaviest uses for the hand protection products are in the chemical protection, food handling, cut protection, mechanical protection, dry box and thermal protection markets.
Comasec's major market is Western Europe but it also sells its products in the U.S., Canada and throughout Asia, an Ansell official said.
The company practically doubled its revenues in late 2003 when it purchased SSL International P.L.C.'s Marigold industrial glove business, which had sales in the range of $58 million at the time.
A year later, SSL got out of the glove business completely when it sold its medical products division, which featured the firm's Regent rubber and SR surgical gloves, to a management group that created a company called Regent Medical Ltd.
The purchase of Comasec is the second major transaction Ansell has made in 2012 and its third in less than a year.
In April, the company purchased Trelleborg A.B.'s protective gear and related products business for about $32 million. The deal closed in the second quarter.
A producer of high-end chemical protective suits, professional diving dry suits, escape hoods and tent/shelters for the first responder, medical, military, aerospace and industrial markets, the acquired firm's products feature polymer-coated fabrics with about two-thirds of its sales in Europe.
Trelleborg and Ansell also entered into a five-year agreement under which Trelleborg will supply polymer-coated fabrics to Ansell.
Ansell's other recent transaction was made last November when it purchased a minority interest in Chandler, Ariz.-headquartered Yulex Corp. and signed an exclusive agreement with the company that will give it a prime source for hypoallergenic rubber latex.
Yulex produces biopolymers derived from guayule, a small dessert shrub native to the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico.