AquaLung put up for sale

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AquaLung put up for sale

September 14, 2016 - 22:25
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Owner Air Liquide confirms preliminary discussions about possible sale of Aqua Lung. Aqua Lung was created after WWII with marine explorer and diving icon Cousteau.

The company started making the so-called Aqua-Lung regulators in 1945

About Aqua Lung

Present in around 90 countries with approximately 1,000 employees, Air Liquide subsidiary Aqua Lung is a major player in personal aquatic equipment for recreational and professiona use. Founded in 1946, Aqua Lung is a historical expert in SCUBA diving and has expanded its offering to complementary areas such a s swimming, aqua fitness and free diving.

In 2015, Aqua Lung generated approximately €200 million in revenue.

According to , Air Liquide has asked Goldman Sachs to find a buyer, and various P-E firms may be interested.

The press release from Air Liquide reads:

Air Liquide, which regularly reviews its business portfolio, confirms that it is evaluating the opportunity to potentially divest Aqua Lung, a major player in personal aquatic equipment for recreational and professional use, in order to best support Aqua Lung’s next phase of growth and enable it to deliver on its strategic roadmap.

Air Liquide is focused on its Gas & Services activities following the Group’s acquisition of Airgas, as well as on the implementation of its company program NEOS for the 2016-2020 period.

There can be no assurances that any of these discussions will result in an agreement or that a transaction will be completed.

The Group has no further information to share at this time.

According to Air Liquide, Aqua Lung now has manufacturing sites in six countries including Mexico and the U.S., with a fifth of its diving business related to the military, It has contracts with 55 armies and navies around the world.

The sale of Aqua Lung comes as Air Liquide, Linde AG of Germany and competitors are facing depressed demand to develop new gas installations at sites like factories and refineries, Bloomberg writes. Air Liquide is also seeking growth from Airgas, the leader of U.S. packaged gas it acquired in May.

Business analysis

According to bankers said the company currently generates around £40 million of operating profit (EBITDA) so could fetch at least $400 million.

“Air Liquide has a strong historical attachment to the business, but it’s not core,” Liberum analyst Adam Collins told Bloomberg. “There is no strategic rationale in being part of the business” Air Liquide is one of the largest global suppliers of gases to big industrial installations like refineries as well as to hospitals and patients.

In Britain the word "aqualung" became a generic trademark for open-circuit underwater breathing sets and stayed so for many years. The word "scuba" became the generic word quickly in the USA and eventually in Britain.

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