Melrose Sells McKechnie Aerospace in $856 Mln Deal

LONDON Mon Mar 26, 2007 6:07am BST

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Melrose Plc MRO.L said on Friday it was selling its McKechnie Aerospace business to JLL Partners in a $855.6 million deal and that it planned to return 200 million pounds ($394 million) to investors.

JLL Partners is a New York-based private equity company.

Shares in Melrose, which has previously said it was in talks to sell its aerospace arm, were up 4.3 percent at 201.25 pence by 0925 GMT to value the company at 517 million pounds.

"We are now focused on the continued improvement in performance of our remaining businesses and finding the next acquisition opportunity," Chairman Christopher Miller said in a statement.

Melrose started as an investment firm and went public in October 2003 with a strategy of acquiring companies and businesses whose performance it felt could be improved.

McKechnie Aerospace, acquired as part of McKechnie Group, is being sold for $850 million plus $5.6 million of debt.

Melrose will retain McKechnie Vehicle Components and McKechnie Plastic Components. It also owns Dynacast which makes precision engineered metal components.

Melrose shares have underperformed other industrial engineers .FTASX2750 by 5 percent over the past 12 months.

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