Yorkshire manufacturing firm set to take part in merger to create global giant

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BRIDON, the Yorkshire-based wire and fibre rope manufacturer, is set to take part in a merger that will create a global business with 3,000 staff.

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, the owners of Doncaster-based Bridon, and Bekaert have reached an agreement to establish Bridon Bekaert Ropes Group, a new joint venture where Bekaert will hold a majority stake.

The new group will combine the ropes and advanced cords skills of almost 3,000 employees, 19 manufacturing sites across 11 countries, and a global sales and service network.

Bruno Humblet, who is currently the chief financial officer of Bekaert, has been appointed as chief executive of the new Bridon Bekaert Ropes Group. Andrew Caffyn, currently the non-executive chairman of Bridon, has been appointed chairman of the board.

The statement issued by Bridon, Ontario Teachers and Bekaert said: “Bekaert and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan have entered into an agreement to merge the ropes and advanced cords businesses of Bekaert with Bridon.

“Bekaert will hold a 67 per cent equity share and Ontario Teachers’ will hold 33 per cent.

“The intended combination will leverage the scale and complementary strengths of Bekaert and Bridon and will pursue value creation for customers and for the new group. Bekaert is contributing its advanced cords business and a well-established ropes presence in Latin America, Canada and Australia.

“Bridon holds strong positions in Europe and the USA with a portfolio of rope wire, strand and steel and synthetic ropes. The merger will also create opportunities for further growth in Asia.” The combined business will account for around 600m euros in sales on an annual basis.

The merger is expected to complete in the first half of 2016. Until then, both businesses will operate separately and continue to serve their customers autonomously.

Bridon generated consolidated sales of 350m euros in 2014 and employs more than 1,600 people worldwide.