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22 February, 2006 - 11:55 By Staff Reporter

Tensator pays £14.3m for Long Island firm

Tensator, the Milton Keynes based European market leader in the supply and installation of retractable barriers and electronic queue technology for the retail sector, has acquired the entire share capital of Lawrence Metal Products in the US in a £14.3m deal.

Tensator is famous for inventing the Tensabarrier‚ retractable barrier and its electronic queuing systems can be seen in the top retail environments throughout the UK, continental Europe and the Middle East.

The company is privately owned by Jeremy Williman who has led its dynamic growth over the past six years following the MBO from the original parent ownership. Tensator’s customers also include international airports, retail banking, and industrial companies.

The combined strength of the new enlarged group has increased forecast turnover for this year to £34.5m and global market share to around 55 per cent.

The current retail product range includes retractable barriers, post and rope systems, electronic queue management systems, and speciality/solution products supported by customised ‘state of the art’ design and engineering facilities.

A wider range of integrated retail products including lighting and merchandising displays will now be marketed through the wider group network.

Tensator employs over 80 people at its international HQ in Milton Keynes and this figure is planned to increase significantly over the next two years.

In the past 18 months offices have been established in Germany and Dubai and, together with over 20 distributors, the brand is now established in 170 countries throughout the world.

Lawrence Metal Products (LMP) based in Long Island, is a third generation privately owned company, licensed to manufacture and supply Tensator products throughout North America, Canada, Mexico, and Japan.

LMP has successfully established a leading position in all of these countries, and is a highly regarded business employing over 100 people at its HQ.

It is also supported by a sophisticated logistics and dealership network.

The acquisition of LMP has been funded primarily by junior and senior term debt provided by Newstar Financial Inc, based in Boston, and Peninsular Capital Partners, based in Detroit.

Karl E. Lapeer, senior partner at Peninsular said: "Tensator has an enviable track record, outstanding management team and exciting global prospects."

Jeremy Williman, chief executive of Tensator added: "Our new generation of eQ‚ (Electronic Call Forward) is currently being launched in Europe and we are anticipating a substantial level of interest in this exciting and uniquely styled product, which is significantly enhancing the profitability of our retail customers.

"This transaction is a major development in our global brand strategy and significantly imp-roves our scale and opportunity in this attractive market.

"It further provides a platform to develop our solution-based technology in China and South America."

During the past four years Tensator has achieved strong and profitable growth with revenue and EBITDA increasing 19 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively, on a compound average rate basis.

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