Engineering giant Tomkins closes in on $550m sale of its tyre safety business

Steve Dinneen
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ENGINEERING giant Tomkins is closing in on a sale of its tyre safety arm, with a string of private equity firms understood to be monitoring the asset.

The firm’s valves and gauges business could also be hived off in what would be a major restructuring of Tomkins’ Northern Irish business, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

Barclays Capital is understood to running the sale of Tomkins’ Schrader unit, which could fetch $550m (£348m), although the bank declined to confirm this yesterday. Tomkins could not be reached for comment.

The “buns-to-guns” group – so called because it owned both Rank Hovis and Smith & Wesson – was overtaken by a consortium of Canadian funds last year despite opposition from shareholder Standard Life.

The tyre unit reported strong sales and profits in the first nine months, with high vehicle production in the US and the increasing focus on tyre safety pushing its earnings to $62m on profits of $348m.

A sale of the business has been long mooted, with reports suggesting the firm had put Schrader on the auction block as far back as July, when Barclays Capital and Goldman Sachs were said to be running the sale. Schrader customers include General Motors, Ford, BMW, Nissan and Fiat among others.