GRI in the mood to buy after Europe disposal

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YORKSHIRE entrepreneur Graham Royle plans to make further acquisitions after securing a deal to dispose of a European subsidiary.

Mr Royle confirmed that he could buy a UK-based business, at a time when the Government is placing great emphasis on a manufacturing-led recovery.

Mr Royle is the chairman and chief executive of the Sheffield-based GRI Group, which has exchanged contracts to sell its Belgian-based company TensaChem to Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad (KLK).

KLK is a Malaysian headquartered producer of oleochemicals which is looking to expand into Europe. The deal is subject to European regulatory approvals and is expected to complete within two months. The initial consideration for the deal is 16.2m euros, and is subject to adjustment up to a maximum of 17.6m euros.

Law firm Nabarro and corporate finance advisers BHP Corporate Finance, acted on behalf of GRI Group, which is a chemicals manufacturer and distributor. TensaChem, which has 100 staff, is based on a 10-hectare freehold site in Liege, Belgium. It manufactures a range of speciality chemicals, which are sold globally into the personal care, household care and industrial sectors. TensaChem generates annual revenues of around 85m euros.

Mr Royle, who is the 100 per cent shareholder in GRI Group, said: “TensaChem is renowned for its technology, quality and service and has been a hugely successful part of GRI Group since 2002. KLK has exceptional worldwide connections in the markets in which TensaChem operates and, as a producer of the key raw materials used by TensaChem, will make a superb strategic parent to provide TensaChem’s next chapter of growth. As for GRI Group, we have some exciting acquisition prospects in the pipeline, which can now receive our full attention.”

Mr Royle said TensaChem had struggled for 20 years until GRI bought it.

He added: “I did a huge turnaround on the business. It was a business which had no direction. I’m an entrepreneur who has turned around a lot of companies. It’s about having good people and having a good strategy.

“I’m very good at people management. People don’t tend to leave my companies.

“I’m very passionate about manufacturing. I believe in the UK as a manufacturing location. I’ve preached that for decades. The UK may feature in my acquisition prospects.”

Ben Hendry, a partner at Nabarro in Sheffield said: “We are delighted to have worked with GRI Group on the transaction. KLK is an excellent home for TensaChem and we are confident that this deal will prove beneficial for all parties.

“It’s great news that GRI Group is on the acquisition trail, too, and we look forward to working with Graham and the team on future transactions.”

David Forrest, partner at BHP Corporate Finance, said yesterday: “This deal is a classic example of a strategic sale to a strategic buyer.”