A US technology company has gained its first foothold in the European market, following the acquisition of a South Wales firm.
The Baker Company has snapped up Pencoed-based Ruskinn Technology in what is thought to be a seven-figure deal.
Gambit Corporate Finance LLP acted as lead adviser to the shareholders of Ruskinn which supplies specialist equipment for biotech research.
Baker, based in Maine, USA is a leading innovator in air containment technologies including biological safety cabinets, clean benches and fume hoods.
The family firm has been trading for more than 60 years and is at the forefront of its specialist sector, but the undisclosed-value deal to buy Ruskinn is its first acquisition.
Ruskinn operates from a purpose-built factory at the Sony Technology Centre at Pencoed. The business was co-founded in 1993 by Andrew Skinn and has grown to become one of the world’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of specialised anaerobic and modified atmosphere workstations.
Its workstations are used by clinicians and researchers in cell and molecular biology including stem cell research and assisted conception.
Today the company has more than 1,400 workstation installed in laboratories in more than 40 countries. More than 200 scientific publications have carried reference to Ruskinn workstations.
The latest deal marks the third time that Ruskinn has changed hands.
In 2001 the business was bought by Welsh biotech company Biotrace, but in February 2006 it was the subject of a £1m management buy-out, with Gambit also acting as advisers.
Later that year Biotrace was itself sold to 3M in a £52m deal.
Ruskinn Technology founder Andrew Skinn said the deal would allow the business to continue to grow. “The continued development of RTL’s research workstations for new bioscience applications will be expanded by the Baker investment thereby underpinning a new era in the company’s strategic development,” he said.
Frank Holmes, partner at Gambit said the deal for the Welsh company was on the basis of a strong earnings multiple. “We have followed the development of RTL for over 10 years including advising on its original acquisition and subsequent disposal by Biotrace International Plc,” he said. “This cross-border transaction exemplifies the substantial multiple of earnings that a technology business will attract for its unique intellectual property and international brand.
“This is a very strategic purchase. Baker are buying the intellectual property and the brand that gives them a platform into Europe.”
However, the shareholders of Ruskinn have not disposed of all their interests. They will hold on to a linked business Ruskinn Life Science Ltd, which specialises in the production of equipment for the IVF market.