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Profile Summer 2007 Newsletter

Sheffield Firm's Future Secured By MBO

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From the left are Andrew Marsh, of Barclays; Mary Broadhead of SYIF; Mike Lancashire, of Abtech; Tony Moran, of Abtech; and Martin Venning, of GVT.

The future of a high-tech Sheffield company has been secured through a management buyout (MBO) by the firm's Joint Managing Director.

AB Controls and Technology (Abtech), a principal supplier of hazardous use electrical enclosures and junction boxes and a market leader in the supply of electrical sensor systems, is set to enjoy a profitable future at its Attercliffe site.

The MBO was facilitated by a South Yorkshire Investment Fund loan, with additional funding from Barclays Bank, to Drishaun Holdings Ltd, parent company of the Abtech group of companies.

Mike Lancashire, Joint Managing Director of Abtech, bought the company assets from his retiring Chairman and Joint Managing Director, Peter Bennett, with a view to maintaining the Sheffield business and saving its valued workforce.

Mike said: "Peter Bennett is a brilliant entrepreneur, with total commitment to his workforce. I felt strongly that his vision for the company had a lot of mileage and that with my intervention we could safeguard the jobs of good, loyal employees and keep a high quality business in Sheffield following his retirement.

"The company is in very good shape thanks to the help we have had from SYIF and we have taken on five new employees in the first quarter of 2007, with a view to further expand the company."

The Abtech group of companies encompasses two daughter companies, AB Controls and Technology Inc. in North America and AB Tech Gehäuse Gmbh in Germany, with plans to open more international offices.

"To meet increasing demand for our products in the international marketplace, we are set to open an office in Singapore and another in Korea within the next 12 months," said Mike.

Abtech's range of products includes custom made increased safety, industrial electrical junction boxes and a vast range of sensor and vision systems for industry, complete with packaged software.

To help Mike with commercial decisions and to encourage sound business practice, Abtech also has the support of business mentor Martin Venning of Goodband Viner Taylor, as part of SYIF's mentorbank facility.

Abtech were introduced to the services of SYIF by Claire Davis, then of Goodband Viner Taylor.

The company banker for Abtech is Barclays, led by Andrew Marsh.

Mary Broadhead, Investment Director at South Yorkshire Investment Fund, said: "Abtech is a dynamic and pioneering company, with a dedication to both business development and to its workforce. SYIF is pleased to be able to help facilitate this management buyout and we look forward to seeing the company's international growth."

Editor's Notes

About South Yorkshire Investment Fund

South Yorkshire Investment Fund  provided seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15k to £2.5m, specifically to help small and medium businesses meet the gaps in funding they need for growth and development.

Created as part of the Objective 1 programme, the Fund is a private and public sector business finance provider. The European Regional Development Fund and Yorkshire Forward are investors in the Fund.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund also provided access to Business Angel investments from the Yorkshire Association of Business Angels and Microloans through BiG Business Loan Fund and Donbac Microloan Fund.

Finance Yorkshire has now taken on responsibility for providing gap finance in Yorkshire and the Humber.

For further details please contact Suzanne Tinkler,  on 0845 649 0000.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund Ltd is a company limited by guarantee (Registered No 3936065). South Yorkshire Investment Fund comprises three sub funds, the South Yorkshire Investment Capital Fund, the South Yorkshire Investment Development Fund, which are each managed by YFM Venture Finance Limited, and the South Yorkshire Investment Small Business Fund, which is managed by Finance South Yorkshire Ltd. YFM Venture Finance Limited (Tel 0113 294 5000) and Finance South Yorkshire Ltd (Tel 01709 386 377) are each authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. South Yorkshire Investment Fund also provides a number of services, which are not regulated by The Financial Services Authority. These include the pilot Seedcorn Fund, BiG Business Loan Fund, Mentorbank and access to the Donbac Microloan Fund. BiG Business Loan Fund is managed by Donbac Ltd (company registration No. 01925556) and Key Fund Yorkshire Ltd (Tel 0114 242 8900).