Edwards agrees to Atlas Copco tie-up

SWEDISH engineer Atlas Copco confirmed yesterday that it plans to take Edwards Group private just over a year after the Sussex-based vacuum pump specialist floated on the Nasdaq.

Edwards has agreed to the all-cash offer, worth up to $1.6bn (£1.02bn) providing the firm hits earnings goals, and major investors Unitas and CCMP have already given their blessing to the deal.

“The two companies share very similar strategic goals, strong brands and leading market positions,” said Edwards chief executive Jim Gentilcore.

Atlas boss Ronnie Leten said he first looked at buying Edwards in 2006, but private equity firm CCMP bought it for £460m a year later.

Following Edwards’ US float in May 2012, CCMP and Unitas retained stakes of 42 per cent each. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014.

“This project is a real growth project. Of course, there are cost synergies, but the main driving factor for us is to create synergies within sales and services from compressors and vacuums,” said Leten during a call with analysts.

Edwards is taking advice from Barclays, led by US managing directors Laurence Braham and Richard Hardegree, and Lazard, led by London-based head of industrials Richard Shaw.