Christchurch firm sold off by phil&teds

16:00, Dec 15 2010

Buggy maker phil&teds has offloaded its roof-rack business to United States company Yakima in a multimillion-dollar deal.

The company, which makes a variety of products for infants, only bought Christchurch company Hubco two years ago.

After expanding sales into 10 new countries, and launching a "silent" roof-rack, a bidding war emerged between Yakima and Thule of Sweden.

In a statement phil&teds said sales had more than doubled in the 30 months it had owned the company. Hubco's revenues are understood to be in the tens of millions. Richard Shirtcliffe, phil&teds marketing manager, would not give details of the sale price, but said the company was prompted to sell it because of the interest Hubco gathered from its larger rivals.

"We weren't looking to sell it, but the brand and design progress over the last couple of years has made us the most advanced business in the industry technically, and that has huge synergistic value for the acquirer. The purchase price reflected that."

Shirtcliffe said the company had developed world-leading technology. As well as Whispbar, which is more fuel efficient and less noisy than rival products, its roof-racks could be adjusted to fit almost any vehicle, unlike those of its rivals, making it easier for retailers to stock.

"At all levels of usability, for trade and consumer, we'd created a proposition which was significantly ahead of the pack."

The deal would have no implications for Hubco's Christchurch-based staff, Shirtcliffe said.