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MSA Safety Acquires Bristol Uniforms

by Marcus
MSA Safety Acquires U.K. Firefighter Turnout Gear Manufacturer Bristol Uniforms

Global safety equipment manufacturer MSA Safety Incorporated announced it has acquired U.K.-based Bristol Uniforms (“Bristol”) in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $60 million. The acquisition strengthens MSA’s position as a global leader in fire service PPE products while providing an avenue to expand its business in the U.K. and key European markets.

Headquartered in Bristol, U.K., Bristol Uniforms is a leading innovator and provider of protective apparel to the fire and rescue services sector, with annual revenue of approximately $40 million. The company has earned a reputation for providing high quality turnout gear that combines innovative designs with advanced materials. Bristol Uniforms employs nearly 200 people across four U.K. locations.

“Helping to keep firefighters safe has been a longstanding element of the MSA mission,” said Nish Vartanian, MSA Chairman, President and CEO. “The acquisition of Bristol advances that mission as well as our growth strategy to protect firefighters from head to toe with the very best in safety technology,” he said.

Mr. Vartanian said the transaction builds on the success MSA has had in improving the overall performance of its International business segment. “Our entire International team, and particularly our associates in Europe, have done a terrific job over the past three years building a more agile, efficient and growth-focused organization. Today’s acquisition reflects the confidence we have in our team’s ability to quickly integrate Bristol into the MSA portfolio. It also recognizes the progress our team in Europe has made in executing MSA’s overall vision for growth,” he said.

MSA Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Ken Krause, who leads the company’s corporate development activities, commented that the acquisition comes at an exciting time for MSA and its fire service business. “The fire service is a strategic market for us that has performed well through a broad range of economic cycles, including the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “Bringing Bristol under the MSA umbrella builds on our 2017 acquisition of U.S. turnout gear leader Globe, while adding another defensive element to our portfolio and providing us with an opportunity to expand MSA’s addressable market in the International segment. With MSA’s global reach and Bristol’s strong brand equity, we’re confident in our ability to reach key geographic markets and make the Bristol brand even more successful.”

Mr. Krause added that the acquisition aligns with the company’s disciplined approach for capital deployment. He also noted that Bristol is expected to hurdle MSA’s cost of capital by year three. Excluding acquisition-related amortization, the company is planning for adjusted earnings accretion of $0.03-$0.05 per share in the first twelve months of ownership.

Bristol Uniforms is also a leading manufacturer of flame-retardant, waterproof and other protective workwear for the utility industry. Marketed under the Bell Apparel brand, this line complements MSA’s existing and broad range of offerings for the global utilities market.

Bristol Deputy Chairman Ian Mitchell commented, “We see today’s acquisition as a great fit for both our organizations. From a product synergy perspective, Bristol Uniforms aligns with MSA’s existing portfolio, enhances our reach into the global turnout gear market, and it gives us new opportunities to serve our customer base with a broader range of head-to-toe firefighter protection.” Mr. Mitchell added, “Culturally, MSA and Bristol are very well-aligned, and we are excited about today’s news as we see this acquisition as a great match for both Bristol and for MSA.”

The fire service equipment brands of MSA, which include Gallet Firefighter Helmets, the M1 and G1 Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus range, Cairns Helmets, Globe Manufacturing, and now Bristol Uniforms, represent more than 460 combined years of innovation in the fire service industry, with one common mission: protecting the health and safety of firefighters.

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