Bristol Uniforms sold to USA safety company

Bristol Uniforms

A leading, Bristol-based manufacturer of high-performance protective clothing for emergency services across the globe has been sold to US-based safety company MSA Safety Inc in a deal with £44 million.

RSM Corporate Finance LLP advised on the sale of Bristol Uniforms and Bell Apparel.

MSA has acquired Bristol Uniforms in its entirety as a going concern, with 200 staff continuing in their current roles. The purchase enables Bristol Uniforms to enter its next phase of growth, and for MSA to increase its global presence in the provision of firefighting Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

MSA is a US listed manufacturer of safety equipment, providing helmets and breathing apparatus for fire services worldwide.

Bristol Uniforms specialises in the design and manufacture of PPE for firefighters, with more than 60 years’ experience in the fire sector. Through the leadership of Ian Mitchell and Roger Startin, Bristol Uniforms has become a trusted supplier of innovative, premium quality protection to the world’s firefighters.

Bell Apparel is a leading manufacturer of flame-retardant, waterproof and other protective workwear for the utility industry.

Based in Bristol, with four sites across the UK, the two businesses supply PPE both nationally and internationally.

The transaction was led by Ian Wherry, partner at RSM. TLT Solicitors, based in Bristol, provided legal advice.

Bristol Deputy Chairman Ian Mitchell said: ‘We see the acquisition as a great fit for both our organisations. From a product synergy perspective, Bristol Uniforms aligns with MSA’s existing portfolio, enhances our reach into the global turnout gear market, and it gives us new opportunities to serve our customer base with a broader range of head-to-toe firefighter protection.”

He added: “Culturally, MSA and Bristol are very well-aligned, and we see this acquisition as a great match for both Bristol and for MSA. We are a very grateful to the team at RSM for their hard work on our behalf to secure a good deal for both the existing shareholders and the future of the business in Bristol.’

Mark Colling from RSM, added: ‘Bristol Uniforms has been a very long standing client of RSM and it has been a pleasure to work with Ian and his team to find one of Bristol’s oldest business new owners that share its outlook and is looking to grow the business’s brand worldwide’

Nish Vartanian, MSA Chairman, President and CEO, said: “Helping to keep firefighters safe has been a longstanding element of the MSA mission. The acquisition of Bristol advances that mission as well as our growth strategy to protect firefighters from head-to-toe with the very best in safety technology.

“The acquisition reflects the confidence we have in our team’s ability to quickly integrate Bristol into the MSA portfolio and it recognizes the progress our team in Europe has made in executing MSA’s overall vision for growth.”