MELKSHAM, England—Avon Rubber P.L.C. has purchased Hudstar Systems Inc. for about $5.1 million to expand the firm's protection and defense product capabilities.
West Palm Beach, Fla.-based Hudstar designs and manufactures electronic control systems used in air respiratory protection systems. Much of its output is used by Avon Rubber for its Deltair self-contained breathing apparatus, designed by firefighters for firefighters, according to an Avon Rubber spokeswoman.
“The revolutionary Deltair offers superior air management, single power supply, clearer communications and optimal weight distribution for firefighters and other first responder teams,” she said. “The low profile mask design provides the greatest field of vision in the marketplace.”
Hudstar produces heads-up displays, telemetry, sensors, instrumentation and integrated voice and data communications systems, the spokeswoman said.
She said that while the company did not pick up any additional rubber products, the acquisition adds to the Avon Protection Systems division's range of capabilities “and will allow greater integration of electronic systems into our masks.”
Melksham-headquartered Avon Rubber said it expects the acquisition to be earnings enhancing in the next financial year.
Hudstar will operate from a separate facility, the spokeswoman said, but will be an integral part of the Avon Protection Systems business, which makes a variety of advanced chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear respiratory protection masks and systems for the military, homeland security, first responder, fire and industrial markets at its plants in Cadillac, Mich., and Melksham.
“The addition of Hudstar's technology and expertise in electronics adds to Avon's capability and will, in addition to providing short-term savings, provide longer-term product development opportunities in this key technology area,” said CEO Peter Slabbert, who is planning to retire from his executive post on Sept. 30. A search for his successor is being conducted.
Slabbert has been with Avon Rubber for 15 years, the last seven of which have been as CEO.
He was “an instrumental part of the successful transformation of the group, helping to build the foundations that have led to the recent consistent record of growth in profits,” Chairman David Evans said in a statement.
Avon Rubber made the announcement about Slabbert when it released its half-year financial results. The figures showed a 9 percent increase in earnings (adjusted EBITDA) at $19.1 million on sales of $98.3 million, which were 2 percent higher than in 2014's first half.
The improvement reflected a strong performance within the company's dairy division.
Its Protection Systems business achieved a healthy order intake of $73.6 million, with $43.8 million due for delivery in the second half of 2015.
“Avon has enjoyed another positive half year, achieving a 10 percent increase in earnings per share against a very strong comparator period last year that included a 52,000 C50 (respirator mask) delivery to a customer in the Middle East,” Slabbert said.
Patrick Raleigh, European Rubber Journal, contributed to this report.