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Byron Group to officially open a new manufacturing plant

Byron Group to drive investment returns for Wolseley Private Equity following opening of new manufacturing plant

Thursday 13 February 2014 - One of Wolseley Private Equity’s leading portfolio companies, Byron Group, will officially open a new multi-million dollar manufacturing plant in Sydney today.

With an annual turnover of $50m, Byron Group continues to be Australia’s largest designer, manufacturer and exporter of ambulances.

Apart from growing domestic orders, the company is also growing internationally with strong orders in the Middle East and Asia. In fact the company has set up an office in Dubai to assist with demand.

The opening of the new 18,000 square metre manufacturing plant by New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell comes at a time when large international players Holden and Ford have announced they will cease car production in Australia.

Based in Smithfield, Western Sydney, the new Byron Group plant consolidates the company’s six divisions into the one location employing more than 200 staff to drive efficiencies and improving collaboration on projects and orders. The company had been previously spread across five sites.

Sydney-based mid-market private equity firm Wolseley acquired Byron Group in 2010.

Wolseley Managing Director and Byron Chairman Mark Richardson said the firm was attracted to the company because it had a proven footprint in a traditional market and due to its bespoke approach was in a powerful position to build on its niche market.

“Wolseley’s investment strategy is focused on growth. We pursue investment opportunities where our team can add value through our knowledge, skills and capabilities in co-operation with the company’s management team – so Byron Group presented the perfect fit,” Mr Richardson said.

“We also have a strong focus on strategy, adopt a hands-on operating approach and partner with experienced owners and managers – a true partnership approach – to ensure incentives are aligned to a successful exit.”

In keeping with its partnering approach, Wolseley appointed Bill Pike as Chief Executive in 2012, through its Bankable CEO© Program to help the company through its next phase of growth.

Mr Pike has a three-decade career working for multinationals, with leadership roles with the Australian operation of Komatsu, Toyota and Mitsubishi.

“Through Wolseley’s Bankable CEO© Program, we welcome the opportunity to work with experienced, capable and energetic senior executives. We believe with their industry insights and contacts and our team’s capabilities to support strategic thinking and execute transactions, together we can generate exciting opportunities for value creation,” Mr Richardson said.

Apart from ambulances, Byron Group is Australia’s leading innovator and home grown producer of hospital and pre-hospital retrieval and rescue solutions, such as bariatric stretchers, spinal boards and extrication devices. It also specialises in the manufacture and maintenance of aircraft furnishings, composite structures and inflight equipment for the aviation and military industries.

Further, it delivers the latest software and hardware technologies to assist with integrated data management and control systems for vehicles and fleets, such as satellite navigation and communication.

Byron Group was acquired by Wolseley Private Equity as part of its Fund II investment activity. Wolseley is currently raising $300m for its Fund III.


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