Swiss firm Forbo takes to the floor with UK company

A Swiss-based flooring systems specialist has extended its network with a nine-figure acquisition in the UK.

Forbo bought Bonar Floors, a contract flooring business, from specialist materials group Low & Bonar, for £123 million.

Low & Bonar sold the business to focus on the higher-margin technical textiles market and will use the proceeds to reduce debt as well as fund organic growth and strategic acquisitions.

In the year to November, the acquired business reported an EBITDA of £13.9 million on a turnover of £101.5 million.

Forbo chief executive This E Schneider says the deal expands its position as a commercial flooring systems provider, adding, ‘Bonar Floors will enrich our company with its dedicated and highly skilled employees as well as its strong brands and impressive products.’

Low & Bonar chief executive Paul Forman comments that the deal gives the company the resources to grow the business. Says Forman: ‘It is not easy to let go of part of our heritage, but the Forbo offer presented the right opportunity for us to exit the contract flooring business and pursue a long-term strategy focusing on the higher-growth technical textiles market.’

Forbo’s operations also include adhesives and chemical bonds as well as power transmission and conveyor belt systems. It has some 6,000 employees in a network of 31 production and distribution companies as well as 42 sales organisations across 34 countries.

Bonar Floors serves companies in the healthcare, education, transport, hospitality, leisure and retail sectors. Its brands include Flotex, Tessera, Westbond, Chocflex, Coral and Nuway. The company employs some 760 people across its manufacturing and sales team in the UK, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany and China.

Marc Barber

Marc Barber

Marc was editor of GrowthBusiness from 2006 to 2010. He specialised in writing about entrepreneurs, private equity and venture capital, mid-market M&A, small caps and high-growth businesses.

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