27/10/2009

Finance Wales makes successful exit from Abriox

Finance Wales has successfully exited from its investment in Abriox Ltd, a developer and manufacturer of remote monitoring instrumentation for gas and petro-chemical companies.


Abriox Ltd, based in Imperial House, Newport, South Wales, provides oil and gas companies with specialist equipment to remotely monitor the condition of their transmission and distribution networks. Its products are installed on new gas pipelines in the UK and the company has also won important contracts in the United States and is now expanding into Europe and the Middle East.

Finance Wales invested £125,000 development capital in the company in its early stage to support the commercialisation of the Abriox system in the UK and its expansion into new international markets. Pipeline operators use cathodic protection (CP) to prevent buried metal pipes from corroding. CP is the application of a low voltage to the pipeline to counteract the natural electrolytic reaction that occurs when metal comes into contact with the surrounding soil.

Damage to the pipes can occur if the level of voltage is too high or too low. Abriox’s MERLIN CP monitoring system checks that the correct voltage is applied and the right current maintained throughout the length of the pipeline. The system identifies any problems and issues an immediate alert pinpointing the specific problem area. This eliminates the need for regular inspections along the length of the pipeline, many of which are in inaccessible locations. All data is automatically monitored and transmitted to a central headquarters, providing timely information to ensure pipelines can be constantly maintained in good condition.

Abriox Ltd’s Managing Director, Neil Summers, said the company was now embarking on further expansion. “The investment from Finance Wales enabled us to develop new products and markets - and the company continues to grow,” he said. “It’s a good time for us to buy back Finance Wales’ shareholding, which supported our growth at a crucial stage. We’ve had an excellent relationship with Finance Wales and are pleased with the opportunities that its investment provided.”

Finance Wales made a profitable return on its investment. Nicola Griffiths, Portfolio Executive, said: “Abriox is a good example of a business that required investment funding to expand. We tailored a package to suit the company’s growth ambitions and now its management team is in a position to buy back our shareholding at a mutually agreed price and drive forward with further growth. We’re pleased to have been able to support Abriox Ltd.”