First takes Control in ?89m US sensor deal

First takes Control in ?89m US sensor deal
Alex Mayhew-Smith Berkshire-based automotive sensing and safety firm First Technology has acquired the US sensors firm Control Devices for ?89.1m, taking 98.3 per cent of the company’s shares in a tender offer. The acquisition will strengthen First Technology’s presence in the US and in Europe, said Fred Westlake, chairman of First Technology. The UK firm, which also has operations based in the US, France and Japan, financed its acquisition through a combination of cash and bank loans. Westlake, who welcomed the acquisition, said: “Control Devices is an extremely well-managed company and has an excellent track record and reputation within the industry.” The deal will double First Technology’s turnover, which amounted to $85m in 1998. “We believe that Control Devices represents an excellent fit with First Technology’s existing automotive businesses and will bring substantial commercial and financial benefits to the group,” said Westlake. Control Devices has three main businesses: designing and manufacturing electronic sensors, circuit protection and electronic ceramics used in the automotive, appliance and telecommunications market. The firm, which also has a presence in France and the Dominican Republic, had a turnover of $80m last year. Among First Technology’s products are crash activated sensors for fuel cut-off and central door lock release.


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