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Deal gives NPL a platform for growth.

Byline: COLIN LEWIS

WARWICKSHIRE-BASED NPL Technologies, the world's largest pattern and model maker, has sold a controlling share to the world's largest toolmaker.

NPL has accepted an offer for a 55 per cent stake from Arrk Product Development Group, whose parent is the giant Arrk Corporation of Japan, the world's biggest toolmaker and producer of prototypes.

Under the terms of the deal, NPL will retain its existing management, and is highly likely to create more jobs for skilled workers.

Tony Lowe, NPL's managing director, said: "We are very positive about the new link-up, because it will allow more investment in equipment and people, enable us to capitalise on the Arrk facilities and customers throughout Europe and so provide a solid platform for stability and growth."

He and Oliver Johnson, led the management buy-in to take control of NPL in 1998 and has since turned the company into the world's biggest pattern and model maker.

NPL has contracts with many of the major car makers and last year clinched a pounds 2.5million deal with General Motors in the United States to supply equipment for a new engine cylinder head. The Arrk deal follows a link between NPL and Ditemsa, a Mexican toolmaking company with strong links with to American car makers. The tie-up has brought a fivefold increase in the Nuneaton firm's sales and significant recruitment.

Arrk Corporation, which founded its UK base in 1989, has a network of companies in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

As part of the deal, Arrk is injecting "significant new capital" into NPL.

Peter Rawson, managing director of Arrk Product Development Group, said the acquisition was an opportunity to increase sales to the US. "Additionally, we have joining the Arrk team experienced, enthusiastic and world-class management and employees."
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 19, 2004
Words:296
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