|This article does not cite any references or sources. (May 2009)|
|Type||Public (LSE: AVON)|
|Founded||Limpley Stoke (1885 )|
|Headquarters||Melksham, Wiltshire, England|
|Key people||Sir Richard Needham chairman|
|Products||Rubber and polymer-based products for personal protection (industrial and defence) and dairy|
Avon Rubber PLC is a manufacturer of rubber-based products for the manufacturing sector. It is a constituent of the FTSE SmallCap Index. Its largest divisions, namely Avon Protection Systems and Milk-Rite produce equipment and components for the armed forces, first response emergency services and the dairy/agricultural sectors, among others.
Its corporate headquarters are located 3 km (1.9 mi) south of Melksham in Wiltshire, England, at the Hampton Park West development. Avon's research and design expertise is supported by ARTIS and locations throughout USA.
Avon products include CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) battlefield respirators, emergency response respirators, dairy milking liners, speed humps, aircraft chocks and tiling for military submarines.
In 1885 Messrs E G Browne and J C Margetson acquired a cloth mill, known as Avon Mill, on the banks of the River Avon at Limpley Stoke. The owners of the mill had been timber merchants, but had later diversified into the production of rubber goods.
By 1890 the business had transferred to premises in Melksham in Wiltshire. Products at this time included solid tyres, conveyor belts and components for railways. By 1900 pneumatic tyres for bicycles were being produced, and by 1906 the first car tyres were advertised. In 1915 the company acquired Greenland Mill in Bradford on Avon (Wiltshire). In 1933 the company was floated on the London Stock Exchange.
In 1956 the rival company of George Spencer Moulton (founded in 1848) was acquired, bringing with it Abbey Mills and Kingston Mills in Bradford on Avon, and a jointly owned plant in Paris. In 1959 production started on a range of inflatable boats.
In 1997 the Avon Tyres business was sold to Cooper Tire & Rubber Company of Findlay, Ohio in the USA, leaving the company to concentrate on its core businesses of automotive components, technical products and protective equipment. The Cooper Tires site remains a major employer in central Melksham.
In March 2000, Avon consolidated its activities at a £19 million manufacturing and head office facility at Hampton Park West at Semington, near Melksham and a £13 million purpose-built polymer mixing centre at Westbury. As of January 2008, around 350 people worked across the two sites.
In June 2005, Avon purchased International Safety Instruments, Inc. (ISI), based in Lawrenceville, GA USA. Avon-ISI is a manufacturer of SCBA, APR, and Thermal Imaging Systems for fire, law enforcement and industrial applications.
In August 2006, the Avon Automotive division was sold to a US-based management team and became a separate entity called Avon Automotive Holdings Inc. This was the largest single buy-out in the company's history. Its aerosol division was sold to Crosslinks Ltd for £1.75 million in March 2008, enabling the organisation to concentrate on its core protective equipment, dairy and extrusions markets.