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Britax Childcare
Genre Automotive safety
Predecessor Britax-Excelsior, BSG International
Founded 1938
Headquarters 3000 Hillswood Drive, Hillswood Business Park, Chertsey, KT16 0RS
Area served Worldwide
Industry Automotive
Products Child safety seats
Owner(s) Carlyle Group
Parent Britax Römer
Website Britax Europe

Britax is a UK-based manufacturer of automotive safety equipment.

Contents

History

It began making automotive safety equipment and accessories in 1938, and to import car and motorcycle accessories. During the 1970s, Britax began making childcare safety products, primarily child safety seats and strollers.

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Excelsior Motor Company

Excelsior Motor Company, a former motorcycle company, bought Britax Group for £880,000 in March 1963. It diversified into aircraft interiors and seating, car mirrors and car seating. Its main competitor in the 1960s was Irvin Air Chute, who previously were Britain's main manufacturer and designer of parachutes.

In 1960, the BSI introduced a kite-mark BS 3254 for car seats, and Britax was one of the first to comply to the standard. In 1960, one of their seatbelts saved Donald Campbell when he crashed at 400mph. Its belts were made from Terylene (now known as PET) made by ICI. Also in 1960 it bought the Cyclemaster motorcycle company in Byfleet.

In June 1963 it introduced a new type of seat belt that allowed the belt to move but locked in rapid deceleration, as all belts are now today, known as inertia reel, and which it called an 'automatic belt'. In the mid-1960s, Britax was based on Chertsey Road in Byfleet. In June 1966, the parent company, Excelsior Motor, bought Notek, a car light manufacturer.

Britax-Excelsior

In January 1968, due to the prominence of the Britax brand, the parent company became known as Britax-Excelsior. At this time, their main competitor was Kangol Magnet, although Britax had over 80% of the UK market. In July 1968, all new cars had have front passenger seat belts. However, it was not legal to always use them.

In January 1970 it bought Hans Kolb of Munich, Germany. The chairman was Oscar Proctor. In December 1971, it was bought by Griffiths Bentley of Staffordshire for £4.27m. Stephen Proctor became managing director of Griffiths Bentley.

BSG International

Griffiths Bentley was bought by the Bristol Street Group to become BSG International. In February 1978, this company bought Weathershields, a Birmingham sunroof manufacturer. On 3 December 1982, the Duke of Edinburgh visited Britax's factory in Chichester. The Britax brand also applied to sun-roofs. In March 1995, LA Rumbold the Surrey-based aircraft interiors company owned by BSG International, won a contract to manufacture all toilet modules for Boeing 737s.

Britax International

It was known as BSG International until May 1997, becoming Britax International. The chief executive was Richard Marton from the 1990s until November 2000, replaced by Bernard Brogan. In May 1996, it set up a joint venture with Koito Industries to make car lights for the European car market. In the late 1990s it was world leader in car safety seats and aircraft interiors.

It bought Buderus Sell, a German aircraft seat manufacturer in June 1997 for £73m. In June 1998 it bought Public Safety Equipment of America, which made fire engine sirens, for £75m. Later in August 1998, it sold its Autolease vehicle leasing company to Standard Chartered for £83m. In April 2000, it bought Bellingham, an American aircraft interiors company, from Hexcel for £73m. It sold its car mirrors division to Reitter & Schefenacker of Germany for £200m.

Management buyout

In July 2001 it underwent a £441m management buyout. In September 2005, Britax International sold its Britax Childcare division for £230m to Carlyle Group, a private equity company.

Structure

In addition to its headquarters in the UK, Britax has divisions based in:

The European headquarters of Britax Römer Kindersicherheit GmbH is in Ulm in southern Germany. The British headquarters are near junction 11 of the M25 near the A320 roundabout in Longcross near Chertsey, having previously been situated in Andover, when known as Britax Excelsior.

See also

External links


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