Racal secures ECI backing

Mid-market buyout specialist ECI Partners has completed its second investment in as many months, supporting Harrow-based Racal Acoustics’ £52 million MBO from US private equity group JF Lehman & Co.

Formerly a division of defence giant Thales (until Lehman acquired the business in 2004), Racal manufactures and supplies ruggedised communications equipment to the defence and avionics sectors. Products range from military headsets and helmets through to field communication systems and are utilised by a platoon of established defence vehicles including Challenger tanks, Chinook helicopters and Hawk trainer jets.

According to ECI’s Ken Lindsay, Racal’s position as ‘a global leader in its market with a world-class reputation,’ was instrumental in the decision to invest.

‘We are very excited by the opportunity… to build Racal Acoustics into the world’s leading specialised military, avionics and security communications business,’ Lindsay explains. ‘We have already earmarked substantial additional equity funding to support management’s acquisition plans and expect to spend up to a further £50 million doing so.’

Boasting a 50-year tradition in the defence sector, Racal will continue to be led by managing director Geoff Eeles. ECI will, however, look to bring in a new, independent chairman over the coming months.

The buyout is the second ECI has completed since raising £255 million for its latest fund in April. Two months ago waste containment business Taylor Continental became the first investment made through this new investment vehicle.

Leslie Copeland

Leslie Copeland

Leslie was made Editor for Growth Company Investor magazine in 2000, then headed up the launch of Business XL magazine, and then became Editorial Director in 2007 for the online and print publication portfolio...

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