Belfast Telegraph

Canadian Equity firm set to seal £450m Survitec deal

By Clare Weir

Northern Ireland defence and safety firm Survitec is about to be sold to a Canadian private equity firm for £450m.

Onex has announced it has agreed to acquire Survitec for $680m (£450m) with the transaction anticipated to close in the first quarter of 2015, subject to approvals.

Survitec, which employs around 300 people at a subsidiary in Dunmurry, makes marine equipment, such as life rafts and life jackets for clients including global air forces and navies, major airlines and ferry companies.

Onex is led by Gerald Schwartz, one of Canada's top paid executives.

His latest target is no stranger to private equity ownership, being sold by Warburg Pincus which bought it from Montagu in 2010 for £280m and previously owned by Alchemy Partners.

Overall, the company has more than 2,000 employees in seven manufacturing facilities around the world.

RFD Beaufort Limited, in Dunmurry, part of the Survitec Group of companies, was described by Princess Anne during a site visit in 2011 as 'Northern Ireland's best kept secret'.

It is not yet known if or how Northern Ireland workers could be impacted by the potential purchase.

Onex has offices in Toronto, New York and London and boasts a varied portfolio, including BBAM, one of the world's biggest managers of commercial jet aircraft, JELD-WEN, which is among the top global manufacturers of windows and doors and the 35-acre Tropicana Las Vegas Hotel and Casino complex.

Onex businesses have assets of $29bn (£19bn), generate annual revenues of $22bn (£14bn) and employ approximately 200,000 people worldwide.

Before establishing Onex in 1984, Gerald Schwartz was the co-founder and President of CanWest Capital. Prior to that he worked at a major Wall Street investment banking firm where he specialized in mergers and acquisitions.

Earlier this month it was revealed that Mr Schwartz earned $87.9m (£58m) in 2013, including $61.4m (£40m) in options and a $25.2m (£16.6m) bonus.

Belfast Telegraph