Expanding: Ansell said France’s Comasec was a good fit for the company.CONDOM and glove maker Ansell said it is looking at further acquisitions across the globe after snapping up the French glove giant Comasec for €101.5 million ($119 million) in a deal that highlights Ansell’s optimism on Europe.
Comasec, owner of the famous European glove brand Marigold, turned over €100 million last year. It has manufacturing operations in Portugal and Malaysia and more than 1200 staff.
Ansell, which will release its full year results next week, said the deal will add to its earnings per share this financial year. It is made more attractive by the fall in the euro against the US dollar, which is Ansell’s currency.
The chief executive of Ansell, Magnus Nicolin, told a teleconference yesterday: ”What we particularly like about the company are its products. They have a number of products that we don’t have, so they complement us in the utility space, in some of the food area.”
Shares in Ansell closed 44¢ higher at $13.54, valuing the company at $1.77 billion.
The Comasec transaction follows three bolt-on acquisitions since April last year worth $US45 million.
Mr Nicolin said Ansell was looking across Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia for opportunities. ”We have, as you know, a strong focus on emerging markets and obviously would welcome opportunities to look at companies in those kind of markets. But the fact is that there are fewer opportunities in the emerging market environment,” he said.
Mr Nicolin said that while no players operating in debt-laden Europe could completely shake off the continent’s economic woes, Comasec had been less affected than other companies in their marketplace.
And despite the well-documented challenges in Europe, it remains the ”biggest single marketplace for industrial hand protection and medical and sexual wellness [condoms.] So it’s a big market.
”So it’s obviously a bit of a mixed bag, and for that reason we feel that this is as good a time as any to make this investment. We also believe, I believe, that Europe will come through these difficulties and will be having a growing economy in all these markets again.”
The Comasec chief executive, Pascal Berend, whose father founded the business in 1948, said the company was pleased to join forces with Ansell. ”This combination will generate many opportunities to accelerate growth and innovation while continuing to provide quality products and services to our customers,” he said.
Ansell recently appointed John Bevan, the chief executive of Alumina, to its board and earlier made Glenn Barnes its deputy chairman. Fund manager Perpetual has increased its stake in the company to 11.2 per cent from 10 per cent.
Citi has tipped Ansell to be net cash positive this financial year in the absence of new share buybacks or acquisitions. An analyst, Alex Smith, said Citi liked Ansell on valuation grounds. The company’s shares are down 6.9 per cent for the year to date.
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