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Barclays Private Equity buys global leader Fosbel in £24 million management buy-out

27 Aug 2003

Barclays Private Equity, one of the leading mid-market, pan-European private equity houses, has today announced its investment in a global leader – with the £24 million management buy-out (MBO) of Fosbel. The business, based in Tamworth (UK), Cologne (Germany), and Cleveland (US), specialises in the ceramic welding of furnace linings in the coke and glass making industries. It also has operations in China, Australia, India, South Africa and South America.  

Fosbel is being bought-out by management and Barclays Private Equity from its joint owners: Foseco and Glaverbel (a subsidiary of Asahi Glass in Japan). Senior debt has been provided by Bank of Scotland Corporate Banking. The company is the undisputed global leader in the provision of ceramic welding maintenance and repair services to coke oven and glass furnace operators – major clients include Pilkington Glass, US Steel, Saint Gobain and Guardian. In addition, it is driving the developing market of ceramic coatings in the hydro carbon processing industry, which reduces emissions and improves fuel usage.  

Simon Henderson, of Barclays Private Equity, who led the deal with colleague Phil Griesbach, said: "We think we are in a heatwave - Fosbel engineers operate with pin point precision, fixing refractory linings day in day out at 1,500 degrees plus! The combination of a world leading business and the renewed energy of a management buy-out should raise the temperature even higher."  

Derek Scott, Group CEO for Fosbel, said: “Barclays Private Equity’s understanding of the support services sector, combined with the team’s clear views on the future of Fosbel, ensured they were the right financial partner for this deal. We are very much looking forward to expanding the company, exploiting opportunities in both local markets and on a world-wide basis.”  

The deal continues Barclays Private Equity’s success in the ‘Support Services’ sector. This area of sector expertise currently accounts for over half of Barclays Private Equity’s activity. Other recent support services deals include the MBOs of Direct Group plc, Recruitment Solutions Group, and the BIMBO of Warner Howard.  

Stuart Watson, Director of Structured Finance at Bank of Scotland commented: “Fosbel is a key player in the provision of ceramic welding and repair services around the world and we’re delighted to support their ongoing business development.”

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