Avon Protection

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Avon Protection PLC
TypePublic limited company
Founded1885 (1885)
HeadquartersMelksham, Wiltshire, England
Key people
ProductsRubber and polymer-based products for personal protection (industrial and defence) and dairy
RevenueIncrease £168.0 million (2020)[1]
Decrease £5.9 million (2020)[1]
Increase £136.8 million (2020)[1]
Number of employees
1,093 (2020)[1]
Websitewww.avon-protection.com Edit this at Wikidata

Avon Protection plc is a British company that specialises in the engineering and manufacturing of respiratory protection equipment for military, law enforcement and fire personnel. Its corporate headquarters are 3 km (1.9 mi) south of Melksham in Wiltshire, England, at the Hampton Park West development. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange.


The business was established when a former cloth mill, known as Avon Mill, on the banks of the River Avon at Limpley Stoke in Wiltshire, was acquired by Messrs E G Browne and J C Margetson in 1885. The previous owners of the site had been timber merchants but had diversified into rubber goods.[2]

Avon military dry diving suit label
Avon wellington boot markings

By 1890 the business had transferred to premises in Melksham and was named The Avon India Rubber Company Limited.[2] 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.[2] The company acquired the Sirdar Rubber Works at Greenland Mill in Bradford on Avon in 1915.[2]

The company was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1933. It acquired the rival company of George Spencer Moulton in 1956, bringing with it Abbey Mills and Kingston Mills in Bradford on Avon, and a jointly owned plant in Paris.[2]

In June 1958, an advertisement appeared in the British Sub-Aqua Club journal Triton to publicise the "Typhoon dry diving suit manufactured by the Avon India Rubber Co. Ltd. exclusively for E. T. Skinner Co. Ltd.".[3] For many years, Avon Rubber also produced back-entry dry diving suits for military use. The company also moulded lined "Stonehenge" brand wellington boots at a time when such footwear was manufactured by calendering or dipping processes.[4]

Production started on a range of inflatable boats in 1959.[2] In 1994 the Llanelli-based marine business Avon Inflatables was split-off and sold; it subsequently became a division of Zodiac Marine, France.[5]

In 1997 the Avon Tyres business was sold to Cooper Tire & Rubber Company of Findlay, Ohio in the United States, leaving the company to concentrate on its core businesses of automotive components, technical products and protective equipment.[6]

In March 2000, Avon moved its activities at a manufacturing and head office facility at Hampton Park West, south of Melksham.[7]

In June 2005, Avon purchased International Safety Instruments, Inc., based in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA. Avon-ISI is a manufacturer of SCBA, APR, and thermal imaging systems for fire, law enforcement and industrial applications.[8]

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 buy-out in the company's history. The aerosol division was sold for £1.75 million in March 2008 to Avon Group (an unrelated Bristol-based company), enabling Avon Rubber to concentrate on its core protective equipment, dairy and extrusions markets.[9]

In November 2008, the mixing plant at Westbury was sold to ATR Compounding Ltd, a division of SPC UK, a compounder of rubber based in Whitby.[10]

The company, which had a long history of manufacturing respirators – including the S6 NBC Respirator, a gas mask used by the British armed forces from the 1960s, and the S10 from the 1980s – began to supply the M50 mask to United States forces in 2009.[11]

In January 2020, Avon purchased Ceradyne, Inc.'s advanced ballistic protection business and the Ceradyne brand from 3M.[12][13][14]

In September 2020, the company divested its milking equipment business, milkrite | InterPuls, to DeLaval for net proceeds of around £160  million.[15] This enabled the company to concentrate on personal protection, both respiratory and ballistic, under the Avon Protection brand. Shortly after, they acquired Team Wendy, a maker of helmets for military and first responder use, for a reported $130 million.[16]

The company changed its name from Avon Rubber to Avon Protection in July 2021.[17]

In December 2021, the company announced it would be closing its body armour business after its bullet-proof vests failed US regulatory tests.[18][19]

In April 2022 the company warned that the year's profits would miss City forecasts, leading to a share price drop of nearly 20 per cent over the course of a single day.[20]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Annual Report 2020" (PDF). Avon Rubber. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Avon India Rubber Co". Grace's Guide. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  3. ^ "The Typhoon Dry Diving Suit", Triton Vol. 3 No. 4 (June/July 1958), p. 30.
  4. ^ "Report on the Supply of Certain Rubber Footwear". London: Monopolies and Restrictive Practices Commission. 1956. Archived from the original on 2 December 2011. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  5. ^ "Rebrand for Avon Inflatables after takeover". Insider Media. 14 February 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  6. ^ "Cooper buying Avon Rubber tire unit for $110.4 million". New York Times. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  7. ^ "Public Document Pack" (PDF). Melksham Town Council. 18 November 2019. p. 5. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  8. ^ "Avon acquires International Safety Instruments". European Rubber Journal. 21 June 2005. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  9. ^ McNulty, Mike (25 February 2008). "Crosslinks to buy Avon Rubber unit". Rubber & Plastics News. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  10. ^ "Avon plant in £2m buyout". Wilshire Times. 16 November 2008. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  11. ^ Ficenec, John (18 November 2015). "Questor share tip: Hold Avon Rubber as gas mask orders rise on risk". Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  12. ^ "Avon Rubber Completes Acquisition of 3M's Ballistic Protection Business". Avon Rubber. 2 January 2020. Retrieved 16 October 2020.
  13. ^ "Avon Rubber Completes Buy of 3M Ballistic Protection Unit". GovCon Wire. 3 January 2020.
  14. ^ "3M's military armor business fetches $91 million in sale". Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. 2 January 2020. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  15. ^ "Agreement to divest milkrite | InterPuls". London Stock Exchange. 2 July 2020. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  16. ^ Lea, Robert (10 September 2020). "Acquisitive Avon Rubber adds Wendy to the team". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  17. ^ "Strong start as Avon Rubber reveals proposed new name". Insider Media. 21 May 2021. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  18. ^ Editor, Robert Lea, Industrial. "Avon Protection to wind down failed body armour business". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 16 December 2021. {{cite news}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  19. ^ Fahy, Michael. "Avon Protection to wind down body armour business". Investors Chronicle. Archived from the original on 15 December 2021.
  20. ^ Martin, Ben. "Avon Protection takes a hit after profit warning" – via www.thetimes.co.uk.
  21. ^ "Obituary: George Pargiter Fuller". Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine. 44: 65–66. 1927 – via Internet Archive.
  22. ^ Obituary: Mr C. M. Floyd, The Times, 29 June 1971, p. 17.