With an engineering heritage stretching back over 200 years, Napier Turbochargers is now one of the world’s largest independent manufacturers of large axial, industrial turbochargers used in the power generation, marine propulsion and rail traction industries.
The company was bought by Siemens in 2003 as part of a larger acquisition and had come to be viewed as a non-core business within its Siemens Gas Turbines (SGT) division. Primary had already commenced an origination programme within the power generation sector targeting businesses manufacturing mission critical components with a high degree of aftermarket sales. Therefore when Siemens decided to appoint advisers to sell Napier, Primary were extremely well placed to immediately engage in the process and were successful in buying the business by way of a management buy-out in June 2008, despite strong interest from trade buyers.
The Big Idea
Napier had not been a priority to Siemens and we fully backed management’s belief that the business could flourish as an independent company. We saw Napier as a strong number two player to global leader ABB. We saw that the company had a real opportunity to bring on board new customers, as well as grow market share throughout its existing customer base.
The Grand Plan
When we acquired the business Napier was heavily integrated within the overall SGT business and separating it was a complex process. We addressed this by constructing and then implementing a detailed plan with management to make Napier fully independent. We worked with the management team to re-energise the Napier brand and re-establish it as a stand-alone business. In addition, the company’s investment in R&D was doubled to accelerate the development of new, leading edge technologies and products and we invested heavily in capital expenditure to increase productivity, increasing its factory footprint by over 70%. Despite difficult economic conditions, profits tripled under our ownership.
The Bottom Line
The company was sold to NYSE listed Wabtec Corporation in January 2013, generating a 5.5x return on our investment.
Date of investment: June 2008
Deal status: Realised
Date of realisation: January 2013
Investment return multiple: 5.5x cost
For more information talk to: Neil Wallace or Alistair Armstrong