Belfast Telegraph

£21.6m US buyout to speed up Telestack's expansion plans

LESLEY HOUSTON

A CO TYRONE engineering firm has said it is on track for rapid expansion after its £21.6m sale to a US corporation.

Telestack, founded in Omagh in 1999, was sold this week to American company Astec Industries, enabling the smaller firm to fast-track its expansion plans.

The value of the sale, which was completed yesterday, was capped at $36m (£21.6m), according to former co-owner Malachy Gribben.

The company specialises in the design, manufacture and installation of a range of material handling systems for mining, port and aggregate industries across the world.

The core of its business is focused on exports to South America, Africa, India and Europe.

Its customised products range from a mobile ship-loading system in Riga, Latvia to a mobile truck unloading, stockpiling, reclaiming and barge loading facility in Sierra Leone.

Mr Gribben bought the company out in 2008 along with Adrian McCutcheon. As part of the sale, both men will remain in the firm to continue to lead the business, 90% of which is export.

Commercial director Mr Gribben said the sale was "good news" for the company, which employs nearly 100 in Co Tyrone, and also for the community around it.

"As a business it is 100% debt free and the sale lays a strong foundation for our plans for future growth," he said.

He said the company's expansion plans, intended to be fulfilled over a 10-year period, will now happen much more rapidly under the new US corporation ownership.

The sale follows plans announced back in October for a £3.1m expansion which signalled the creation of 40 new jobs and attracted the offer of £444,000 support from Invest NI.

"We have grown four-fold in the last six months and what we planned to do in 10 years we will be able to do now in between three to five years," said Mr Gribben.

"It means more jobs for the local community and will enable us to kick on ahead with our expansion plans and our growth and it's good news for ourselves and for our employees.

"We buy a lot of our components from the local community and the bigger we are the more benefits it will mean for them.

"It's a great day for us personally and is a really good news story."

Welcoming Telestack into Astec's "family of companies", CEO Benjamin G Brock said the Omagh firm shared many of its core values, especially their commitment to customer service and the provision of the most innovative products.

Astec's manufacturing operations include aggregate processing and mining equipment, asphalt production equipment as well as oil, gas and water drilling equipment.

Mr Brock said Telestack would "help to provide a broader product line" to each of the industries they serve.

"With this acquisition we have further demonstrated our commitment growth not only in these industries but in international markets as well."

Astec Industries describes itself as being the manufacturer of specialised equipment for "building and restoring the world's infrastructure".

Belfast Telegraph

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