How much did Montagu pay for Aqua Lung?

In August of 2016, Air Liquide announced it was putting Aqua Lung for sale and the asking price was 400M. It wasn’t clear if we were talking about Euros or US$ — but presumably, euros.

Air Liquide is a French industrial company. Aqua Lung has been part of Air Liquide since its beginnings — but it was never a significant part of Air Liquide’s revenues. In Air Liquide’s financial reports, Aqua Lung was buried in the welding division which itself, was the smallest division of Air Liquide.

At the end of December 2016, Air Liquide issued a press release announcing it had divested Aqua Lung to a private equity firm, Montagu.

Since then, rumors in the dive industry circulate that Aqua Lung was sold for close to 400M. It appears to be far from the truth!

How much did Aqua Lung sell for?

It was sold for approximatively 200M euros.

In Air Liquide’s 2016 Results Management Report published on their web page for investors, they list an after-tax disposal of Aqua Lung for 229M euros — which is confirmed again on page 34.

Meanwhile, a “manager of transaction services” at PwC (Pricewaterhouse Coopers) list on his achievements on LinkedIn that he worked on the buy-side of the Montagu Air Liquide transaction for a value of 200M euros.

How much sales and profits are generated by Aqua Lung?

That’s a tough question to answer. As mentioned above, Air Liquide is a publicly traded company and publishes annual financial results. However, the Aqua Lung division was so small that it was typically hidden inside another division.

We’ve learned from this 2016 Results Management Report from Air Liquide that profits from discontinued operations declined from 14.6M euros in 2015 to 11.1M, in 2016. On page 7 of that report, Air Liquide states that Aqua Lung’s financial results have been reallocated from “Other Activities” to “Net Profit From Discontinued Operations”.

Either way, it appears the dive gear industry is fairly small. It is usually agreed upon that Aqua Lung is the largest scuba diving gear manufacturer & wholesaler in the World. Yet, it’s only worth about 200M euros. Meanwhile, earlier this week, we learned that PADI was sold for US$700M. PADI is the Professional Association of Diving Instructors.