Firth Rixson is a provider of highly-engineered forged, cast and other specialty metal products for the aerospace and general industrial markets. The company manufactures rolled, seamless rings, which are used in aircraft engine, airframe and power generation applications. Firth Rixson is also a specialist supplier of forgings, castings and superalloys to the heavy truck, off-highway, mining, medical and other general industrial markets. Firth Rixson has its European headquarters in Sheffield, UK, and its U.S. headquarters in Hartford, Connecticut. The company operates fifteen facilities located across the UK, US, Europe and Asia and employs approximately 2,000 people.
The Carlyle Group acquired Firth Rixson in February 2003 through a UK public-to-private transaction. At the same time, the company was merged with Forged Metals, an existing Carlyle portfolio company based in California, which also supplies seamless rings to the aerospace market. Since February 2003, Firth Rixson has consolidated its leadership position in the seamless ring sector through the acquisitions of TRT in November 2003 and Schlosser Forge Company in October 2004. In October 2005 the company became the first western ring roller in China through the opening of a modern production facility in Suzhou Industrial Park, near Shanghai.
The transaction represents a new investment by Lehman Brothers Co-Investment Partners, which is a dedicated co-investment fund and part of Lehman Brothers, the global investment bank. The Carlyle Group is an existing investor in Firth Rixson through its U.S. and European buyout funds, Carlyle Partners III and Carlyle Europe Partners. Carlyle's U.S. and European investment teams have worked together on the investment since 2003.
Robert Easton, Managing Director in Carlyle's European Buyout team, said, "The Firth Rixson investment is an excellent example of the success of Carlyle's global model - with teams working together across funds and geographies to add value to investments. With Carlyle's support, the management team has expanded Firth Rixson's global reach, has strengthened its customer relationships and doubled its sales."
Bud Watts, Managing Director in the Carlyle U.S. Buyout team added, "We are delighted to welcome Lehman Brothers as partners in this investment. This transaction provides our investors with a significant return, while also allowing us to continue to build value as Firth Rixson executes on our proven growth strategies."
David Mortimer, CEO, Firth Rixson said, "This is a wonderful outcome for Firth Rixson. Carlyle has presided over an unprecedented period of success for the company and it is great that they want to reinvest. At the same time, I look forward to working with the Lehman team who has already shown a strong commitment and enthusiasm for the Firth Rixson business."
David Stonberg, Managing Director in Lehman Brothers Co-Investment Partners, said, "We are extremely excited to co-invest alongside Carlyle in Firth Rixson. The company is very well positioned with an excellent management team and terrific prospects. We look forward to working with Carlyle and management in the further development and success of the business."
The Carlyle Group was advised by Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, Latham & Watkins, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Lehman Brothers Co-Investment Partners was advised by White & Case, and Deloitte & Touche. Lehman Brothers is the lead underwriter for the debt. – less–ZoomInfo