Melrose Seeks $800 Million Acquisition While Selling Dynacast

Melrose Plc aims to acquire a manufacturer or engineering company worth more than $800 million as it begins a sale process for its Dynacast business, Chief Financial Officer Geoff Martin said.

The company said today it is trying to sell Dynacast, which makes razor handles and mobile-phone parts. Martin wouldn’t say who possible suitors were, but the business “has potential buyers,” he said.

Melrose’s full-year net income rose 77 percent to 141.1 million pounds ($228 million) as sales climbed and financing costs and taxes fell, the company said today in a statement.

“We’re in a process and we’ll see where that leads us,” Martin said in a telephone interview. “If a buyer gives us the price we want, we’ll sell it, but if not, we’ll hold on to it; it’s a well-performing asset.”

The company is also looking for acquisitions, he said, whether or not Dynacast is sold. The target will be a manufacturer or engineer, and will be “underperforming in some way,” he said. It will be worth 500 million pounds or more, and could be based anywhere, he said.

Melrose looks at the percentage of profit a target makes on revenue compared with competitors as a measure of whether it’s underperforming, he said. Companies with poor management, businesses failing to recover the costs of raw materials from customers as commodity prices rise and those underinvesting in factories and equipment make good targets, he said. Melrose can then improve margins, he said.

“We don’t get that by magic dust, we get it by investing money in the businesses or changing management,” he said.