Family-owned road markings business acquired by Austrian group

Hitex, Swarco and Brabners personnel

A Cheshire road markings business has been acquired by Austrian traffic technology group Swarco, for an undisclosed sum.

Ellesmere Port-based Hitex Group dates back to 1972 when road marking contractor L&R Roadlines was founded.

The companies of the group work in the field of road safety, being a producer of road marking materials and decorative surfacing products (Hitex Traffic Safety), a contractor for road marking services (L&R Roadlines), and a manufacturer of road marking vehicles and machinery (Somerford Equipment).

Swarco ‘speaker of the board’ and COO, Michael Schuch, said: “With the Hitex acquisition, we follow our course of seeking market opportunities with companies that are a good fit for us by having strong know-how in their field, a good market penetration, a high reputation, and the background of a family ownership with a corporate culture similar to ours.

“The Hitex companies will give us direct access to the road marking systems sector in the UK, helping us to gain a significant market share by introducing our five-decade long expertise in road safety materials.”

Hitex was owned by four members of the Lloyd family who were looking for an appropriate successor to continue the successful course of the road safety provider.

Geoff Lloyd said: “We are happy to have found with Swarco a family-owned business with a strong know-how in the production of glass beads, road marking materials and the application of line markings.

“My family and I are convinced that Swarco will be a good new home for Hitex and its staff, offering growth potential and continuity for our life.”

Harald Mosböck, Swarco’s vice president for road marking systems in Europe and the APMEA regions, sees great potential in developing road safety with high performance road markings in Europe’s second largest economy.

“The Hitex Group is very well established in the UK road safety sector and will open the market for Swarco’s top products such as SWARCO SOLIDPLUS beads and 2-component MMA systems.

“Together we will be able to offer a new level of high performance road marking systems and give a boost to the driving quality and safety on Britain’s road network.”

The Hitex Group employs a total staff of 130 and generates annual revenues of roughly £22.7m.

Independent North West law firm Brabners acted as advisors for Hitex throughout the deal process through its integrated deals advisory and corporate offering.

Michael Brabner has acted for Hitex since the early days and has been a sounding board for the sellers for nearly 50 years. He said he is delighted to have assisted the shareholders in their sale to Swarco.

Paula McGrath, who heads up deal advisory at Brabners, said “We are delighted to have helped the shareholders through an emotional sale and execute a deal with a strong buyer with similar cultures that will help drive the business forward.

“We wish Swarco every success in its acquisition of Hitex and look forward to seeing the company develop further.”