Laird Climbs Most Since April 2009 on Cattron Buy

Laird Plc, the biggest maker of electromagnetic shields for mobile phones, rose the most since April 2009 after announcing the acquisition of Cattron Group International Inc.

Laird climbed as much as 16 percent. The London-based company will pay $90 million in cash for Cattron, according to a Regulatory News Service statement this morning. The deal will be “significantly earnings-enhancing” in 2011, the company said.

The acquisition of Cattron, a designer of wireless control and automation products, “will allow Laird to expand its wireless machine-to-machine offering,” the company said in the statement.

“The timing of the acquisition is a surprise, as we would have thought that the group would have waited until it had clearly demonstrated it was on a recovery path” analyst Steve Medlicott of Altium Securities said in an e-mailed note. “That said, a diversification is not necessarily a bad thing and the group has tended to buy well in the past.” He retained his “hold” recommendation on the stock.

Laird announced on Jul. 29 it was “pursuing an exit” from its money-losing handset mechanisms product line, including mechanical parts such as sliders and camera shutters for mobile phones, to focus on more profitable areas.

“The market for wireless control and automation systems continues to grow; Cattron is well placed to participate in this growth, while its combination with our existing wireless systems business is expected to provide further opportunities,” Peter Hill, chief executive officer of Laird, said in the statement.

The shares rose as much as 22.4 pence to 161.7 pence and traded at 159 pence as of 11:01 a.m. in London.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jack Jordan in London at jjordan22@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge at ckeatinge@bloomberg.net.

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