Laser company targets growth following MBO
The new owners of a South Wales company which has spent eight
years developing a range of high performance and high reliability
lasers are aiming to double its turnover within three years
following a management buy-out.
Global Laser was founded in 2001 by five private investors, two of
whom - chairman, Dr John Watkinson and managing director, John
Miller - have now been joined by finance director, David Beckerley,
to buy out the three other original shareholders. The deal was
financed by the management and Finance Wales plc, with Mark Hislop
at Broomfield & Alexander advising on valuation, the business
plan, forecasts, heads of terms agreement, deal negotiation and
management together with deal structuring and tax planning.
Legal advice was provided by Eversheds, and the Knowledge Bank,
the Welsh Assembly Government’s scheme which supports high growth
companies in Wales, also provided consultancy support. Now the
company, which employs 22 people on the Cwmtillery Industrial
Estate in Abertillery, is ready to capitalise on the years of
product refinement and the development of unique digital laser
control technology to push turnover up from its current £1.2m to
£3m in the next three years.
Global Laser’s advanced laser modules consist of a laser diode
to produce the light, a lens to create the desired output – a
straight line, grid pattern, or concentric rings – and electronic
control components, and have a vast range of applications from
robotics and healthcare to defence. They are sold all over the
world, including USA, China, Japan and Korea, and uses include bar
code reading, lining up of components on circuit boards or buttons
on shirts, guiding patients into medical scanners, retinal scanning
and measuring tyre depths on F1 cars as they race around
Managing director, John Miller, a former Vodafone and Halifax
Building Society board member, said quality and innovation were the
watchwords which would take the company forward into new markets
and new contracts. “Over the years, we have taken lasers from a
low-value, utility item into a range of high powered, sophisticated
applications,” he said. “That innovation has continued with our
drive over the past three years to develop software which now
enables us to move from analogue to digital control. We are the
only company able to do this, and it means we can miniaturise
lasers to allow them to be used in an even greater range of
applications. We will now be looking to improve our partnership
arrangements with our customers, distributors and agents, and
together growing a very strong order book."
Broomfield & Alexander’s director of corporate finance, Mark
Hislop, said the company was a good example of one with a high
quality product in a developing market, which would benefit from
the fresh thinking and dynamism of its new management structure.
“The MBO will enable Global Laser to further explore additional
areas of commercial activity involving the next generation of laser
technology, whilst continuing to work on the delivery of ever
improving quality to its customers,” he said.
Global Laser has received investment from Finance Wales plc in
previous funding rounds.
Rachel Miles, Portfolio Executive at Finance Wales plc led on
the deal with Rhian Pugh, Investment Executive. Rachel said the
management buy-out would allow Global Laser to push ahead with
growth plans. “The seamless succession of a management team is
crucial to continued growth of a business. We are pleased to have
supported the management buy-out at Global Laser with investment
funding which will allow the company to grow and develop new
products and markets.