Endless acquires steel company for £27m

LEEDS-based turnaround specialist Endless has bought a steel company in a £27m deal.

Niagara Lasalle (UK), based in Willenhall, in the West Midlands, has been acquired from its US parent, Niagara Corporation.

The group provides hot rolled and bright steel bars in engineering steel grades and has around 5,000 customers across the UK, Europe and North America.

Endless said the acquisition of a "well established and successful business" with a turnover of more than 60m would allow the parent company to focus on its core US markets.

It's the 12th deal from Endless's Fund II. Fund II is supported by investors drawn from global private equity funds, and a number of major European and United States-based family offices and foundations.

Nick Leitch, a director at Endless, who led the Niagara Lasalle acquisition, said it was a business with great opportunities, which needed somebody willing to put their shoulders behind it.

He added: "It's a proper business with a fantastic heritage. The company is focused in more niche areas with a wide customer base."

Mr Leitch said the company had 300 staff, compared to around 400 to 450 in 2008. Around half of its sales are in exports.

He added: "While manufacturing in the UK has been tough in recent years, it is testament to the skill and determination of the management team and work force who have successfully steered the company through this period, maintaining a sizeable market share."

As part of the acquisition the group acquired a number of properties that Niagara Lasalle operates from in the UK.

It has also secured a supply agreement to ensure enhanced trading with its former parent company in the US.

Adrian Jones, a partner at Gambit Corporate Finance who advised on the acquisition, said: "This significant acquisition demonstrates that a more positive sentiment to doing deals definitely exists and we certainly hope that this will continue."

Mr Leitch said Endless was feeling pretty upbeat about prospects for 2011. He added: "In the first quarter it would be nice to do one or two more (deals)."

Other advisers involved in the deal included law firms Cobbetts and Eversheds, along with HCF International Advisers and Kohlberg & Co.