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ChargePoint swoops for key supplier

1 April, 2014 | ChargePoint Technology

ChargePoint Technology, the Liverpool-based manufacturer which supplies precision containment valves to some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical and chemicals businesses, has today acquired the assets of Forac Limited, a key business in its supply chain.

The deal sees ChargePoint secure access to a market leading component – a compact but powerful pneumatic actuator. It is used to open and close the isolation valves that feature in production processes used by the pharma, food and fuel industries.

The financial terms were not disclosed but Forac, whose customers include Honeywell, Bosch and GEA Group, will relocate its plant and stock from a base in Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex to ChargePoint’s manufacturing plant in Speke, Merseyside. Forac’s founder and managing director Adam Bunyard has joined ChargePoint as part of the deal.

Chris Eccles, managing director at ChargePoint Technology, commented: “The Forac deal is strategically important for our business and will keep us on track for our ambitious growth targets in global markets. Forac’s actuators are a key component in our containment valves and we know well the quality of the product. It’s only a small component – in terms of what we produce, – but it’s best-in-class.”

ChargePoint’s customers are the big pharma manufacturing companies, producing medicines in the USA, Europe and Asia. Its containment valves allow for the safe and sterile handling of any powders used in the manufacturing process – for example when making drugs in tablet form. The valves allow for a safe means of transferring powders from one vessel to another during the production process. By minimising dust emissions, they are specified to prevent cross-contamination and protect operators from exposure to potent substances.

Originally developed in 1996 in conjunction with GlaxoSmithKline, ChargePoint valves are now used by almost every major pharmaceutical manufacturer globally and increasingly in other industries such as chemical, bio-pharmaceutical, food manufacture and consumer goods. Customers include GSK, Pfizer, Henkel, DuPont, INEOS, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly and Sanofi Aventis.

ChargePoint has a turnover of £6 million and 55 staff globally. Some 90 per cent its business is done overseas and it has previously won The Queen’s Award for International Trade. In October 2013 the business received a £1.625m investment from Enterprise Ventures to support its continued growth. The deal included a first investment by The North West Fund for Mezzanine, which provided £900,000 to enable ChargePoint to recruit additional skilled staff and develop new high tech products for export. Enterprise Ventures has also invested £725,000 from its Coalfields Funds.

Chris Eccles, managing director, added: “We are on course to push our turnover beyond the £10 million mark and to have a corresponding increase in the size of our team.  It’s not going to happen overnight but the Forac deal and other plans we have in progress are steps along the road.”

The advisors to the deal were all Manchester-based: Sean FitzGerald at law firm Ward Hadaway and Michele Haddican from accountancy firm Grant Thornton acted for ChargePoint, whilst Nicola Frost at DWF provided legal advice to Forac.