Close Brothers Private Equity has sold its interest in SP Systems, the Isle of Wight composites business, to the Swiss industrial conglomerate Gurit Heberlein. The price tag was £75 million and although Close Brothers Private Equity is not releasing details of earnings on the investment the fact remains that the business was bought for £50 million in November 2000 and has since doubled its profits to £7 million. The current turnover is £60 million.
Richard Lott, partner at Close Brothers Private Equity, says: “The company is the beneficiary of growth in the wind energy sector and most the profits growth comes from the company’s success in that market place.” SP Systems uses composite technology for building large structures such as wind energy turbines and racing yachts. Customers include Vestas (the world’s leading wind energy turbine supplier), TVR cars, and state of the art racing yachts such as Ellen McArthur’s Kingfisher. Close Brothers Private Equity bought SP Systems from the Nasdaq-listed Zoltek Companies Inc. SP Systems’ ownership by Gurit Heberlein is subject to shareholder approval as the company needs to issue additional shares to finance the transaction.