A BENTHAM-based plant – believed to be among the world’s leading makers of industrial fire fighting equip-ment – has been acquired by its management as part of a £62m buyout.

Angus Fire, which employs 250 staff at its North York-shire factory and a design office in Thame, Oxfordshire, was acquired from its United States owner UTC in a deal backed by private equity firm LDC and regional investors.

The company, established more than 100 years ago, designs and manufactures fire hoses, industrial hoses, foam concentrates and fire fighting systems for a variety of sectors, including oil and gas, aerospace, the military and ports.

Angus Fire also has subsidiaries in North America and France, and exports its products to more than 100 countries, including some in the Middle East and the Asia Pacific region.

The new owners say they are now looking to capitalise on growing global demand for Angus Fire products in the oil and gas sector.

The business makes large diameter industrial hoses for a variety of applications including water transfer for the large and growing US fracking market, which pro-duces shale gas.

As Bentham is at the northern end of the North West’s shale gas reserves, Angus Fire says it is ideally poised to benefit from any future development of the UK’s own hydro-fracking industry, which has recently been given the official thumbs-up.

In this important new application, the group says it offers a solution to the oil field services sector that combines proven environ-mental benefits with materially lower total cost of ownership.

For the financial year ending December 31, 2012, Angus Fire recorded sales of £95.6 million.

Chief executive Paul Williams said: “LDC’s investment provides the financial and strategic support to help us capitalise on the increased demand in emerging markets and the buoyant oil and gas sector for our products.

“We look forward to creating a unified propo-sition and cementing our market-leading position through investment in new plant and equipment and operational improvements to increase our capacity and to be able to serve the market demand more effectively.”