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Powell Duffryn continues engineering disposals

Powell Duffryn, the port services and engineering company acquired by NPIL for GBP509 million in December 2000, has announced the disposal of its Hamworthy Belliss & Morcom division for GBP26 million. The manufacturer of high pressure reciprocating compressors has been sold to Gardner Denver, a US company that manufactures compressed air and petroleum equipment, is based in Gloucester, UK, employs 334 people and last year generated revenues of GBP39 million. Gardner Denver simultaneously announced the acquisition of US-based Hoffman Air and Filtration Systems from Invensys for $45 million.

On completion of the original deal, NPIL made clear it’s intention to dispose of Powell Duffryn’s engineering divisions in order to focus on the company’s ports and shipping businesses. The disposal of Hamworthy Belliss & Morcom is the third of the planned divestments following the GBP92 million sale of Geesink in July and disposal of the smaller JiP business.

Chief executive of NPIL, Brian Berry, said: “Today’s announcement is another step in the disposal program and we are delighted that we have secured a buyer for the business who recognises the quality of HBM’s products and service capabilities. Negotiations are progressing with potential purchasers of the remaining Powell Duffryn engineering businesses.”

NPIL’s Powell Duffryn deal, made through Prestige Acquisitions, was the investor’s first public to private transaction and its largest investment to date. In April this year the investor structured a securitisation of the ports business, which includes the ownership and management of the ports of Tees and Hartlepool. The GBP305 million raised was used to reduce the debt financing of the public to private deal. The proceeds of the engineering disposals will also be set against these debts and used to develop the ports business.

Deutsche Bank, which advised NPIL in the public to private transaction, also acted as broker in the sale of Hamworthy Belliss & Morcom.