Smiths Group To Acquire United Flexible For $345 Million

Britain’s Smiths Group plc on Thursday said it has agreed to buy Illinois-based United Flexible for $345 million in a deal that adds new solutions for its aerospace and industrial product suite around tubing and hoses for fluid and fuel transfer and expands its geographic footprint.

The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2019. United Flexible, which was acquired in 2015 by the private equity firm Arlington Capital Partners, is expected to generate $157 million sales this year and $32 million in adjusted operating income.

United Flexible's products include composite hoses. Photo: United Flexible

United Flexible's products include composite hoses. Photo: United Flexible

United Flexible, which has operations in the U.S. and in Europe, will be integrated into Smiths Group’s Flex-Tek division.

United Flexible has customers in the aerospace, defense and industrial sectors. Among other platforms and systems, the company’s products are the Airbus A320neo passenger plane, the United Technologies [UTX] Pratt & Whitney PW1000G geared turbofan engine and F135 military aircraft engine.

“This acquisition is consistent with our strategy of high-grading the portfolio for growth, through organic and inorganic investment as well as active portfolio management,” Andy Smith, chief executive of Smiths Group, said in a statement. He added that “The acquisition of United Flexible will strengthen Flex-Tek’s position in aerospace and industrial end markets globally. United Flexible is a high-quality growth business with complementary positions in industrial markets and on a number of growing aerospace platforms.”

Arlington Capital said that since it acquired United Flexible, the company’s sales have more than doubled and its profitability has increased due to a combination of organic growth and acquisitions. Since acquiring United Flexible in January 2015, Arlington Capital acquired Kreisler Manufacturing and Scotia Technology to bolster the company and add new products for bellows and precision metal components.

United Flexible’s financial advisers on the deal are Lazard and Lincoln International and Smiths is being advised by Gleacher Shacklock. The transaction must be approved by U.S. regulators.

Smiths said it will pay for United Flexible with existing cash and credit lines.

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