Carlyle and Lehman sell Firth Rixson

The company has 11 manufacturing sites in both countries and Hungary and China, and generated an annual revenue last year of approximately £500m.

Carlyle invested in Firth through its US and European buyout funds, Carlyle Partners III and Carlyle Europe Partners. It acquired the 160 year old company in February 2003 when it delisted Firth Rixson plc from the London Stock Exchange. Carlyle immediately merged the newly acquired business with an existing portfolio company, Forged Metals, a US company the firm bought in 2000. In September 2004, Firth acquired Schlosser Forge Company, a California-based outfit, before setting up a facility in China the following year, becoming the first Western ring-roller to do so. Carlyle invested in Firth through its US and European buyout funds, Carlyle Partners III and Carlyle Europe Partners

Bud Watts, managing director at Carlyle, said, “We would like to thank CEO David Mortimer, former CEO Armand Lauzon and the Firth Rixson management team and employees for their tremendous efforts in building this company since our initial investment seven years ago. This investment has been a great success for Carlyle and our investors, with our US and European buyout teams partnering to support the aggressive growth of the Firth Rixson platform on a global basis.”

Lehman Brothers’ investment began in September 2006 when it acquired a 36% stake in the company. This was followed in May 2007 with the purchase by Firth of Future Tech, California-based business specializing in the machining of ultra large aerospace components.

Rowan Taylor, a Partner at Oak Hill Capital Partners, added, “Firth Rixson’s management team has a tremendous record of operational excellence and financial success. We believe the company is well positioned to enjoy record growth over the next few years as it delivers its critical products to its aerospace and industrial customers. We look forward to working with David and his outstanding management team.”

Financing is being provided by Lehman Brothers, GE Commercial Finance and Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets. Oak Hill Capital Partners received legal advice from Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, and Macfarlanes. Carlyle was advised by Lehman Brothers and Latham & Watkins.