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Caledonia Inv PLC (CLDN)

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Friday 09 December, 2011

Caledonia Inv PLC

Investment in Bowers & Wilkins

RNS Number : 7040T
Caledonia Investments PLC
09 December 2011
 



Caledonia Investments plc

 

Investment in Bowers & Wilkins

 

Caledonia Investments plc ("Caledonia") announces that it has invested £24 million in cash to acquire a 20% preferred equity interest in B&W Group Limited ("Bowers & Wilkins" or the "Company"), a well-established and rapidly growing British company which designs, manufactures and distributes high-end audio equipment.  Bowers & Wilkins has been led by Mr Joe Atkins ("Joe Atkins"), its Chairman, since 1996.

 

The investment in Bowers & Wilkins represents a good fit with Caledonia's strategic aims in the unquoted sector. The Company is managed by an experienced and stable team, has a strong balance sheet and benefits from a global operational footprint and exposure to expanding markets where its product innovation is highly valued by its customers.  

 

Caledonia's participation in the Company, by way of a significant minority shareholding with board representation, also fits well with Bowers & Wilkins' desire for a long-term investor, supportive of its development requirements and aligned with the strategic aims of its existing shareholder base.  

 

The investment has been structured through newly created preferred ordinary shares in Bowers & Wilkins ("Preferred Ordinary Shares") that will provide a dividend yield to Caledonia whilst fully participating in the equity value of the Company. The Preferred Ordinary Shares carry the same voting rights as the existing ordinary shares and on a realisation of the Company, or other return of capital, will rank in priority to the ordinary shares in terms of both dividends and capital invested.

 

Caledonia has acquired its 20% interest through the purchase of 200,000 Preferred Ordinary Shares from each of Sofina S.A. ("Sofina"), the quoted Belgian investment holding company, and B&W International Limited ("BWI"), a company of which Joe Atkins is the ultimate beneficiary.

 

In its most recent audited consolidated accounts to 30 September 2010 Bowers & Wilkins reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation ("EBITDA") of £13 million, consolidated profit before tax of £6.5 million and consolidated gross assets of £80.2 million. The Company is expected to report EBITDA in excess of £18 million for the year ended 30 September 2011.

 

Commenting on the transaction, Duncan Johnson, Head of Unquoted Investments at Caledonia, said:

 

"We are delighted to be partnering with Joe Atkins on the next phase of the Bowers & Wilkins' journey.  Bowers & Wilkins is a great business with a truly global reach across the range of premium audio segments where it competes. 

 

Bowers & Wilkins fits the Caledonia investment model where we look to match our capital with businesses which seek to grow over the longer term and our partnership model is valued by all stakeholders."

 

Commenting on the investment Joe Atkins said:

 

"Caledonia's investment in Bowers & Wilkins provides us with a UK based, long term supportive investor to help us on the next phase of our growth strategy   The Caledonia model is unique in the UK in providing capital to private businesses such as ours and we were particularly attracted by its ethos of supporting investee companies over the longer term.

 

We are also delighted to welcome Duncan Johnson to our Board and look forward to the valuable contribution he and Caledonia will make going forward".

 

9 December 2011

 

Caledonia Investments plc

020 7802 8080

Will Wyatt, Chief Executive

 

Duncan Johnson, Head of Unquoted Investments

 

 

 

College Hill

0207 457 2020

Roddy Watt

 

 

END

 

Note to editors:

 

Caledonia Investments plc, listed on the London and New Zealand Stock Exchanges, is one of the UK's largest investment trusts and is self-managed. At 30 November 2011, Caledonia had net assets of approximately £1.1 billion and invests in and actively manages, usually with a board position, a focused portfolio of significant stakes in companies and situations where it believes there to be good opportunities for building value over the longer term. It has paid an increasing annual dividend for 44 years.

 

In the unquoted arena, Caledonia seeks to invest £20 to £50 million in private companies either on a majority or minority basis.

 

For additional information on Caledonia, please visit www.caledonia.com.  Neither the contents of the company's website nor the contents of any website accessible from hyperlinks on the company's website (or any other website) is incorporated into, or forms part of, this announcement.

 

Richard Goblet d'Alviella, non-executive director of Caledonia, is Executive Chairman of Sofina.  Sofina will remain a minority investor in Bowers & Wilkins alongside Caledonia following the transaction.

 

Bowers & Wilkins, founded by John Bowers in 1966, is a leading manufacturer and distributor of premium audio equipment throughout the world.  It manufactures a wide range of products including the iconic Zeppelin docking station as well as the premium 800 Diamond Speakers used at Abbey Road Studios.

 

Further details of the Company's products can be found on its website at www.bowers-wilkins.com.

 

Transaction

Duncan Johnson and Tim Lewis led the transaction on behalf of Caledonia with advice from Macfarlanes (Stephen Drewitt) and KPMG Transaction Services (Nick Standen).  Bowers & Wilkins was advised by Radcliffes Le Brasseur (Peter Coates).

 


This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange
 
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