Geotek sold to Judges Scientific plc

BCMS has advised the shareholders of Geotek – a world-leading supplier of instrumentation and services for the analysis of geological cores – on the sale of the business to Judges Scientific plc (AIM: JDG), a UK group focused on acquiring and developing companies in the scientific instrument sector.

The transaction has a total consideration up to a maximum of £80 million, plus excess cash. This is Judges Scientific plc’s largest-ever acquisition, and the first to derive a substantial proportion of revenues from services.

“BCMS’s support was first class, making navigating a challenging process manageable and transparent at all times” – Tony Bosley, MD, Geotek

First established in 1989, and headquartered in Daventry, UK, Geotek is a designer and manufacturer of a wide range of specialist instrumentation for geoscience applications, focusing on high-resolution, non-destructive analysis of geological cores. A past winner of the Queen’s Award for International Trade, Geotek has to date supplied its products and services to over 40 countries worldwide and generates in excess of 90% of its revenue from export markets.

Alongside its instrumentation product suite, Geotek has also developed a sophisticated Managed Service offering, which enables customers to maximise data recovery from their geological samples held within core repositories, laboratories, and field locations, and is delivered under contract. Geotek’s coring division – focused on mapping and extracting gas hydrates – is largely managed from its operation in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

This purchase of Geotek is Judges Scientific plc’s twentieth acquisition since 2005. The group focuses primarily on UK-based businesses, with products sold worldwide to a diverse range of markets including higher education institutions, scientific research facilities, manufacturers and regulatory authorities. Geotek’s specialist solutions are complementary to another Judges’ subsidiary, GDS Instruments, and the Judges’ board expects the acquisition to be materially earnings enhancing in the current financial year.

“This was a large and complex transaction and it benefitted enormously from the fairness, positivity and professionalism of the whole BCMS team” – David Cicurel, Chief Executive, Judges Scientific plc

MSCL and Geotek specialisations

Geotek’s systems – including the company’s original Multi-Sensor Core Logger (MSCL) – deploy a suite of geophysical and geochemical sensors, enabling measurements to be obtained rapidly, accurately and automatically on sediment or rock cores. The company also designs and manufactures an extensive range of digital 2D and 3D X-ray CT, XRF and hyperspectral imaging systems, as well as specialist pressure core analysis systems, which allow for preserved geological cores to be accessed and analysed under in-situ pressures and temperatures.

Geotek systems are suitable for use in either an onshore laboratory/core repository environment, or on-board survey and drilling vessels. Applications vary from academic users examining the sedimentary record in oceans and lakes for climate research, to industrial applications in the mining, hydrocarbon and offshore geotechnical sectors.

“An excellent deal for all parties”

Under the terms of the deal, Geotek Managing Director Tony Bosley will remain in post to drive the business forward, while Geotek’s founders (Chairman Peter Schultheiss and Service Director Quentin Huggett) will enter into one-year service contracts.

Commenting on the deal, Alex Hambro, Chairman of Judges, said: “Geotek is a world-leading business in a focused global niche, providing top-quality products and services which are essential for the improvement of geophysical knowledge. This cash-generative and earnings-enhancing acquisition fits within Judges’ disciplined acquisition strategy and we are delighted to welcome Peter, Quentin and Tony and all their colleagues to Judges’ family.”

Commenting on BCMS’ role in the transaction, Geotek’s Tony Bosley said: “We thoroughly enjoyed working with BCMS and were impressed with their professionalism, depth of knowledge and continuous enthusiasm for the project. BCMS’s support during the identifying opportunity stage, preparation and transaction work was first class, making navigating a challenging process manageable and transparent at all times.

Geotek Chairman Peter Schultheiss added: “BCMS really were the ideal partner for Geotek, leading to an excellent deal for all parties.”

David Cicurel, Chief Executive of Judges, commented: “This was a large and complex transaction and it benefitted enormously from the fairness, positivity and professionalism of Jonathan Dunn and the whole BCMS team.”

BCMS CEO Jonathan Dunn added: “We’ve really enjoyed working with Peter, Tony and the team at Geotek. The company is a rare example of a UK business genuinely leading the world in its field and we are proud to have been so heavily involved in shaping the deal and securing a great home for its long-term future. Being a truly global business, the slowdown through Covid was significant for Geotek, but the team devoted that time to developing new services in new sectors that really added value to this deal. BCMS is thrilled for the shareholders and for Judges, who were a pleasure to deal with.”

Alongside corporate finance advice from BCMS, the shareholders of Geotek received legal advice from Freeths and tax and accounting advice from Menzies during the transaction.

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