By Liz White, UT contributing editorMiddleton, UK-British Vita plc has expanded again, spending $28.3 million to acquire the polyurethane systems business of Chattanooga, Tennessee-based Synair Inc.-including its Preston, UK-based subsidiary Chemical Innovations Ltd (CIL). Synair supplies Tyrfil polyurethane for industrial tyres and, said Vita, "occupies a leading position in specialist bonding agents." The firm supplies markets such as automotive, building and construction, marine, material handling and general industrial applications.I am delighted that we have been able to acquire Synair as it provides an excellent base to grow our existing Hyperlast PU Systems business in the North American market," said David Campbell, Vita's chief executive, in a company statement. "CIL's leadership position in high-performance bonding agents provides a further opportunity for additional significant growth in this high-value product area," the Vita boss added. The transaction was financed from existing cash and debt facilities, according to the Vita statement. Combined sales for Synair and CIL in the year ended 30 September 2004 were $33 million, with operating profit of $3.7 million. Net assets acquired are $12.5 million.Meanwhile the British Vita board cautioned that in the second half, price pressure from raw materials "have proved more severe than expected, whilst supply of some resins has tightened." This has resulted in slower growth than the 5 percent in the first half.The group now expects before-tax profits for 2004 to be slightly below the reported £50.7 million for 2003. But it also anticipates progressive improvement in margins as selling prices are increased and raw material conditions ease. This will be supplemented, said Vita, by benefits from rationalisation and also from higher growth and margin businesses such as this Synair purchase."