Kirriemuir firm acquires USA company to unlock global growth

12/06/2024
The Bradford warehouse in Massachusetts

WILKIE, a global leader in technical textiles headquartered in Kirriemuir Scotland, has acquired Bradford Coatings in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA. This strategic move marks the group’s expansion into North America, reinforcing its commitment to growth, innovation, and producing high-quality products made in the USA.

Wilkie was advised by accountancy and business advisory firm, BDO with integrated buyside input from BDO’s Glasgow, London, and Boston teams to deliver an efficient transaction. Boston-based lawyers Nutter provided legal advice and Avidia Bank in Massachusetts provided funding to support the deal. 

The acquisition of Bradford Industries will enhance Wilkie’s manufacturing footprint, as well as cementing its pledge to leading-edge development in the technical textiles industry. The Lowell facility features a five-station coating line with flip station and one-side lamination and is poised for substantial growth on the back of this transaction. 

The deal secures the jobs of 25 experienced employees and adds $8 million to Wilkie’s revenue. The site will continue to specialise in key markets such as airbag coating, cast polymer films, parachute and sports equipment coating, military tentage, and advanced coatings for various industrial applications. Wilkie will merge its existing commercial operation into the Lowell facility, adding a further $5m of revenue to the site. 

Hamish Rowan, CEO at Wilkie said: “Our ambitious plans for the Lowell site include substantial investment in research and development, further expanding our technical coating capabilities, and driving growth over the next decade. We are enthusiastic about the opportunities this acquisition presents, particularly in military, commercial, and technical coated fabrics markets and we foresee significant potential for added value within the group, such as Wilkie supplying the woven fabrics to be coated and resold by Wilkie America.

“We look forward to collaborating with new and existing customers as we embark on this exciting journey as Wilkie America.This acquisition aligns with Scotland’s strategic plan and also promises to inject new life into an already remarkable Lowell based business, paving the way for a prosperous future for Wilkie.”

Partner Craig Martin, who led the deal for BDO, added: “Wilkie is a fantastic business with a proud heritage in Scotland and a visionary management team with sights set firmly on global growth. It was a pleasure to work with such an ambitious business as it delivers its growth plan and to be able to connect with our US colleagues to deliver this acquisition in the most timely and effective way. We look forward to seeing the next chapter of growth for Wilkie as it further establishes its US presence.”

Hamish concluded: “BDO was pivotal in getting this deal over the line. The team across Scotland, London and in Boston exuded confidence and cross-border expertise so the Seller knew we were serious. Everyone at BDO felt like an extension of our own Wilkie team. BDO also made useful introductions to Boston-based lawyers. The positive and clear guidance offered throughout the process meant we were able to complete finance and tax due diligence promptly and reach a successful outcome for everyone involved.”

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