UK-based engineering group IMI is to branch out into cosmetic retail display design with its £47 million acquisition of Artform International, a European specialist in Point-of-Purchase (POP) brand support, design, development and manufacturing particularly focused on the cosmetics, tobacco and leisure products sectors.
IMI says it has agreed to acquire 93 per cent of Loughborough, England-based Artform from European private equity firm Bridgepoint as part of further investment in the development of its Merchandising Systems POP displays business. The deal involved £14 million in cash and assumed debt of £33 million.
The acquisition of Artform is set to significantly extend IMI's ability to service global brand owner clients by providing a European base for operations. All but a small percentage of Artform's sales are in European markets and its current customers include many of the leading global cosmetic brands.
Martin Lamb, IMI's chief executive, commented: "Artform has an excellent track record of success, providing knowledge-based solutions to a strong client list in growth sectors that complement our existing Merchandising Systems operations. The acquisition also provides us with a platform in the European Point-of-Purchase display market and positions us better to serve our global clients with cross-border retail and brand-marketing expertise."
He added that with the addition of Artform the pro-forma annual sales of IMI's Merchandising Systems business would be around $300 million.
For the year to March 2003, Artform's audited pre-tax profit was £4.3 million on sales of £33 million. The value of the net assets acquired excluding assumed debt is approximately £10 million.
Artform's 425 employees including its management team will all remain with the business.