Darwin takes on Aerospace

London-based Darwin Private Equity has acquired the aerospace machining division of British engineer Hampson Industries for £23.7m.

Hampson Aerospace Machining (HAML) applies the precision machining of metallic components for gas turbine engines and similar applications for the commercial aerospace, military & defence and power generation markets.

As part of the transaction, industrialist John Hudson will join the company as chairman and private equity specialist Jeff Walker will take on the role of finance director.

Founding partner of Darwin, Jonathan Kaye told EVCJ: “This acquisition has by no means opened a flood gate of deals but what it has proved is that there are opportunities available despite the difficult market.”

The debt equity ratio for the deal was 50/50 and Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets provided 100% of the acquisition debt for the transaction. Kaye commented on his experience of current leverage market: “Our first acquisition had 50/50 debt/equity so things are getting back to normal. Being in the lower end of the mid-market we are able to gain all of the debt we need from just one bank. As you go past £20m, you need more than one bank which is where things get tricky.”

The acquisition of Hampson is Darwin’s second acquisition since its launch in March 2007. In December 2007, Darwin acquired Maximuscle, a sports nutrition business for £75m.