Helmet Integrated Systems sold to US firm

Posted on 9 Jul 2014 by Callum Bentley

Helmet Integrated Systems Ltd (HISL) has been acquired by USA-based Gentex Corporation, a global leader in integrated helmet systems for defence and security personnel.

HISL is an established provider of protective helmets, communications equipment and respiratory systems for civil, defence, security and industrial personnel. HISL employs approximately 200 people with two UK facilities, in Letchworth Garden City and Stranraer, Scotland.

Its subsidiary, Interactive Safety Products, Inc., is located in Huntsville, North Carolina.

HISL manufactures known brands, such as the Alpha helmet range and Pureflo respiratory products, as well as being a key supplier to defence and military organisations both in the UK and USA, including the Ministry of Defence and the US Air Force.

The company was engaged as a key supplier on the Joint Strike Fighter F-35 aircraft programme.

HISL will operate as a UK subsidiary of Gentex Corporation, which is headquartered in Carbondale, Pennsylvania.

Gentex Corporation and HISL will combine their products, technologies, and manufacturing resources to continue to deliver their line of helmets, and respiratory and communication systems in the global defence and security market.

In a release from Gentex Corporation, the company stated immediate access to new markets and the ability to offer improved support to global customers as the key drivers for their acquisition of HISL.

“This powerful combination creates a significant opportunity for growth for both businesses,” said L.P. Frieder, president, Gentex Corporation.  “The addition of HISL will accelerate Gentex’s international growth by providing us immediate access to new markets and the ability to better support our global customers from HISL’s U. K. facilities.

“For HISL, access to Gentex’s business development, technology, manufacturing and quality engineering resources will strengthen their offering and support the growth of their brands in the global market. We look forward to delivering a new level of capability and value to all our customers.”

Both companies are privately owned, with common histories, each dating back more than 90 years. The transaction was managed for HISL by international M&A advisor BCMS.

BCMS associate director Hugh Ashburner, who managed the transaction, comments: “Gentex competed strongly, particularly in value and cultural terms, to fight off stiff competitive interest from companies from around the world. The deal has strong merits and benefits for both companies.”