The latest stage of an ambitious growth programme at Outreach Ltd the leading supplier of hydraulic handling, lifting and access equipment based in Falkirk, sees the acquisition today (Thursday 31st July 2014) of one of the UK’s top suppliers of Launch and Recovery Systems (LARS) for remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs).

Outreach Ltd. has acquired, for an undisclosed sum, Great Yarmouth based Tech Safe Systems (UK) Ltd specialists in the design, engineering and manufacture of LARS, Control Cabins and Workshops for ROVs, used most commonly in deep water industries such as oil and gas and offshore renewables. Tech Safe Systems Ltd supplies its equipment to ROV operating companies worldwide.

Based at the Gapton Hall Industrial Estate in Great Yarmouth, Tech Safe Systems employs 22 personnel including skilled specialist engineers and is recognised as one of the leading suppliers of custom built ROV operating equipment.

Gary Potts, Managing Director – Sales and Marketing, Outreach Ltd said: “From the outset, we were very much aware of the great synergies between Outreach Ltd and Tech Safe Systems. Both companies have a focus on innovative design and manufacture and Tech Safe Systems has carved an attractive niche in the ROV market which is entirely complementary to what Outreach currently offers in the offshore oil and gas, renewables and marine sectors. We believe there is strong potential to grow the business within the Outreach group of companies.”

Mr Potts outlined plans to grow the Tech Safe Systems operation at its existing Great Yarmouth site and confirmed significant investment plans, including the recruitment of further employees over the next 12-18 months, mainly on the service side.

He added: “Both Outreach Ltd and Tech Safe Systems have significant business in the North Sea, through oil and gas and offshore wind and Great Yarmouth is an ideal location to service this business, alongside our facilities in Scotland.”

Peter Evans started Tech Safe Systems Ltd in 1996 after piloting manned submersibles and working in the offshore industry for many years. With his experience of ROVs and a passion for design and innovation, he saw a niche in the market, to provide a complete package of LARS, winches, cabins and workshops, integrated and tested with the customer’s ROV as a complete system. This ensured all the equipment worked together prior to going offshore.

Peter Evans, company founder Tech Safe Systems Ltd. said: “From the beginning, our philosophy was ’large enough to cope, small enough to care’ and the principle was to build high quality equipment to ‘The Best of British’ design. Despite the company having grown in size and capability, this is still our ethos and we have to thank our superb staff for their support over the years. With the sale of the company to Outreach Ltd I wish them all success with their expansion plan to take the company forwards at our Great Yarmouth site.”

The acquisition of Tech Safe Systems is the latest investment by Outreach Ltd which has, in the past 18 months, invested £3 million in its Access Division fleet, creating Scotland’s largest independent hirer of truck mounted access equipment and £500,000 in new production equipment for its Specialist Bodies Division which focuses on vehicle body building and conversions.

Outreach Ltd. was advised by the Glasgow offices of Grant Thornton UK LLP and McClure Naismith LLP and debt finance was provided by Santander Corporate and Commercial Banking. Tech Safe Systems was advised by Norwich based Larking Gowen Corporate Finance and Robert Colman, Partner of Howes Percival Solicitors.

Neil McInnes, Advisory Director at Grant Thornton UK LLP said “We are delighted to have supported our client, Outreach Ltd with due diligence and lead advisory services on this important acquisition.  Tech Safe Systems complements the existing Outreach business really well, leveraging off the core skills and reputation of the existing business whilst providing a catalyst for growth in new market segments.”

Bobby Liddell, Relationship Director at Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “This acquisition accelerates Outreach Ltd. entry into the launch and recovery systems market for remotely operated underwater vehicles, which is a perfect fit for this ambitious business as it continues to invest for future growth. We are delighted to support this transaction and to help this innovative company grow and prosper.”

James Lay, Partner, Larking Gowen Corporate Finance said: “It has been extremely satisfying to advise the Evans family throughout the sale process. They deserve enormous credit for developing Tech Safe Systems into an internationally recognised offshore business. We found much interest from both independent and large multi-national buyers, and feel the undoubted synergies with Outreach Ltd will enable further growth and development of the business.”

Outreach Ltd is a leading supplier of Hydraulic Handling, Lifting & Access Equipment. The company offers a single door sales, design and installation service with back up including spares, repairs, servicing and training. From its head office in Falkirk in Central Scotland, Outreach Ltd currently operates across Scotland, the UK and, for some of its products, across the globe. Key market sectors include: Construction, Utilities, Transport, Local Government, Marine, Offshore Renewables and Oil & Gas.

For more information about what Outreach Ltd can do for you, please visit their website.

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