Havant: Lewmar Marine sold to American firm LCI in £36m deal

Havant-based Lewmar Marine has been acquired by Lippert Components Inc (LCI) in a deal worth £35.8 million.

Spectrum Corporate Finance advised the Board of Lewmar Marine.

Spectrum acted as lead corporate finance adviser to the Board throughout a strategic review of options for shareholders and the overall transaction process, including a targeted marketing process to a select number of potential international industry buyers. LCI was identified as a strong potential strategic partner, with the ability and appetite to capitalise on the future market opportunities available to Lewmar.

Founded in 1946, Lewmar is a global leader in the design and manufacture of high-quality products and integrated solutions for the international leisure marine industry.

Lewmar designs, manufactures and distributes a wide range of components including anchoring systems, hatch and portlight solutions, powered and manual glazing systems, sail control winches and hardware, docking products and steering systems.

Lewmar is a recognised and trusted brand. Its extensive range of products are typically the products of choice for the world’s leading sailboat and powerboat builders. The strength of the brand also resonates with the end-user sailors and power boaters which provides a substantial aftermarket distribution business. Overall, Lewmar has 300 employees and posted sales for the year ending December 2018 of £56m, up 12% over 2017.

LCI, based in Indiana, operates across more than 65 manufacturing and distribution facilities in the US, Canada, Italy, Ireland and the UK, with 2018 annual sales of £1.9 billion. It is the world’s leading supplier of engineered products for the leisure and transportation industries.

The boards of LCI and Lewmar were quick to recognise that joining forces would create an exciting platform for future growth in the international leisure marine industry and provide opportunities to improve the support provided to customers through further developing the range of products, the manufacturing capabilities and geographic reach of the business.

Lewmar was an unlisted private company with a mix of management, private equity and private individual shareholders. Its shares were previously traded on OFEX and so the transaction was subject to the Takeover Code. The transaction was therefore completed through a rule 2.7 Offer and a Court approved Scheme of Arrangement. Irrevocable acceptances comprising over 80% of the share capital were secured in advance of the deal announcement on June 11.

Spectrum worked alongside Sebastian Briggs and Leon Miller from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP, the Company’s legal advisers and Susan Jarram from BDO LLP, the Company’s Rule 3 financial adviser.

Darren Miller, director at Spectrum Corporate Finance, said: “We were delighted to be appointed to advise the Management Team and Board through this important deal for the 300+ shareholders who have supported the business over many years. Lewmar is an important and high profile business locally in the Solent region. It has established a global reputation for excellence in design and manufacturing and has developed a client list which includes all of the world’s leading sailboat and powerboat OEMs and aftermarket distributors.

“The nature of the transaction led to a number of complexities and challenges and it was therefore particularly satisfying to work alongside other local advisers in bringing the deal to such a successful completion.”

Peter Tierney, managing director of Lewmar, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for Lewmar and represents the best strategic option for the Company and its employees. LCI is an innovative and dynamic organisation that will allow Lewmar to continue to grow its presence in both the European and US markets. The Spectrum team proved to be agile in their stewardship of the process and were solution-oriented throughout. Their research, knowledge and support through the process was of critical importance to the Management team. Having an experienced team at our side through what was a complex, international transaction was highly valued and enabled the Management team to move forward confidently.”

Jason Lippert, CEO & president of LCI said: “The marine industry has been a continued target of growth for LCI, and with the acquisition of Lewmar, we are expanding this strategy to a global level. This is our sixth acquisition within the global leisure marine market, as well as our sixth acquisition in Europe. All of this points to our strategy to be a significant player in the global marine, rail, and caravan markets domestically and in Europe. LCI’s capabilities and experience play well into Lewmar’s market. I have the utmost trust in Peter to grow and lead this business in Europe. I am really excited to see the positive effect that our combined leadership team will have on our global marine efforts.”

Simon Davies, managing director at Spectrum Corporate Finance, said: “Lewmar has led the global marine component market for many years and has built its reputation as a leading designer of solutions for its customers, demonstrating its excellence in technical and complex engineering solutions, manufactured in the UK. We were delighted to secure them as a client and worked with the Board and Management Team over a number of years to achieve the optimum timing and solution for the shareholders. We are sure that the business will continue to prosper under the new ownership.”

Sebastian Briggs commented: “We are delighted to have advised Lewmar on this significant transaction. It has been a real privilege to support the management team through the next stage of Lewmar’s long and illustrious history.”