BTR plc

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BTR plc
Public limited company
Industry Conglomerate
Fate Merged with Siebe
Successor Invensys
Founded 1924
Defunct 1999
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Key people
Sir Owen Green, (chairman)

BTR plc was a British multinational industrial conglomerate company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It was founded in 1924 and merged with Siebe plc in 1999 to form BTR Siebe plc, later renamed Invensys. BTR was listed on the London Stock Exchange and was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.


BTR started in 1924, when the B.F.Goodrich Company of the USA formed a UK subsidiary British Goodrich Rubber Co. Ltd. In 1934 Goodrich sold most of its shares in the company, which changed its name to the British Tyre & Rubber Co. Ltd.[1] In 1956 the company changed its name to BTR Limited, when it ceased production of tyres.[2]

The Company was dominated by Sir Owen Green from 1967 to 1993 first as managing director (until 1986) and then as chairman.[3] By 1982 BTR had acquired a large number of companies in the United Kingdom, the US, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Germany.[2] In 1985 BTR acquired Dunlop Holdings plc.[4] The Dunlop road tyre business was immediately sold to Sumitomo Rubber Industries.[5] In late 1985, BTR launched a hostile take-over bid for Pilkington, a leading manufacturer of high quality glass, with operations worldwide. After a successful defensive campaign by Pilkington, BTR was forced to withdraw its offer in early 1986.[6]

BTR purchased Schlegel Corporation in late 1988 through a subsidiary. Schlegel had manufacturing facilities for door and window seals and related products in twelve countries.[7] Schlegel made automobile and building products in Europe through its subsidiaries Schlegel UK and Schlegel GmbH.[8] After the purchase BTR decided to transfer the Schlegel UK and Schlegel GmbH subsidiaries from Schlegel Corporation to itself.[7]

There was a dispute over how the transfer should be valued for tax purposes, with BTR valuing the Schlegel UK and Schlegel GmbH subsidiaries at $21,846,000 and $9,400,000, while the Internal Revenue Service valued them at $49,069,000 and $13,246,000.[8]

In 1992, Hawker Siddeley Group plc was acquired by BTR plc for £1.5bn.[9]

BTR also had an industrial products operation in Australia known as Nylex which it secured complete control of in 1995.[10]

Between 1996 and 1998, BTR sold the remaining Dunlop companies.[11] In November 1997 UniPoly S.A, bought 32 companies from BTR, including the Schlegel Sealing and Shielding Group. The acquisition cost about $867 million.[12] The deal was a management buy-out in which UniPoly Group was formed to take over most of the rubber products business of BTR plc.[13]

In 1999 BTR merged with Siebe to form BTR Siebe plc, which was renamed Invensys plc.[14]


The Company was latterly organised into the following businesses:[15]

  • Engineering
  • Packaging
  • Materials
  • Building products
  • Polymers

See also[edit]