Bosses of a Greater Manchester firm which makes valves for the oil and gas industry have increased their stake in a secondary buyout which values the business at £35m

press release imageThe management team has spearheaded turnover growth at Bifold FluidPower from £3m to £15m in the past five years, partly fuelled by the acquisition of Marshalsea Hydraulics, based in Taunton, last April.

Now the team, led by managing director Gary Jacobson, may seek more targets, following a deal which provides an exit for Barclays Ventures, which backed a management buyout in 2002.

Bank of Scotland Corporate's integrated finance division has provided a debt and equity package for the deal and takes a minority stake. The transaction includes a facility to fund further acquisitions.

Bifold has 110 staff at its headquarters on the Greengate industrial estate, Middleton, and 36 employees in Somerset, as well as offices in Houston and Singapore. It was founded more than 100 years ago in Wigan as a supplier of valves for steamships and of miners' lamps. It merged with FluidPower, a business set up in Great Yarmouth, and moved to Middleton in 1997.

The group also includes MTS Precision, an engineering business. The company supplies stainless steel control valves used on oil and gas rigs, at refineries and in pipelines.

Bifold is one of the sector's fastest growing businesses. Mr Jacobson said today: "We have one of the most advanced manufacturing facilities in our industry and aim to offer market-leading products, quality, technical support and service."

Frank Summers, Bank of Scotland's director of integrated finance, said: "With an experienced management team boasting a proven track record, Bifold has a very strong position in a niche market that shows excellent growth prospects."

Advisers included a team at Manchester investment bank Altium, led by Simon Lord, and lawyers at Addleshaw Goddard and DLA Piper.

Article taken from Manchester Evening News 23 April 2007 by Kevin Feddy