SSL sells glove business to management

The transformation of Durex owner SSL International into a consumer products group moved into its final phase today with the sale of its surgical gloves and antiseptics business.

The transformation of Durex owner SSL International into a consumer products group moved into its final phase today with the sale of its surgical gloves and antiseptics business.

SSL said it was selling the business to a management team for £173m (€258.4m) as it refocuses on brands that also include Scholl footcare.

The disposal is the third and final step in the break-up of SSL’s medical businesses and will bring the total raised to £250m (€373.4m).

However, SSL said it would receive some £40m (€59.7m) less than initial expectations for the whole disposal programme, partly due to the weak US dollar.

The sale to Regent Medical, which is backed by private equity group Apax, remains conditional pending the approval of shareholders and regulators.

The book value of the assets being sold is about £80m (€119.5m) and includes its surgical glove manufacturing and packing facilities in Malaysia.

More than 2,000 employees, most of them based in Malaysia, will be transferred to Regent Medical on completion of the deal.

SSL, based in Knutsford, Cheshire, unveiled a strategy of focusing on consumer healthcare brands last year.

It offloaded its Marigold industrial gloves business for £22m (€32.9m) in November and then sold its wound management arm for £55m (€82.1m) this March.

Chief executive Garry Watts said SSL could now concentrate all of its resources on driving forward global brands such as Durex and Scholl, as well as key local brands.

SSL, which is due to report full year results on Thursday, said in March that it expected to post sales for the year of around £600m (€896.1m), compared with £591m (€882.7m) a year ago.

Sales of Durex condoms had grown in line with expectations since October, but demand for Scholl footwear and footcare continued to be flat, it added.

Shares in the group rose 8p (12c) to 335p (€5) in early trading.

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