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01-10-2017 - Modwenna Rees-Mogg - 0 comments
Deal Envy - BGF exits investment in Acro

Another exit to an overseas buyer provides yet more evidence of the Chinese desire for UK tech companies.  BGF has agreed to successfully exit its minority stake in aircraft seat manufacturer, Acro Aircraft Seating. The company will, subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions including regulatory approval, be acquired by Zhejiang Science and Technology Investment Company (ZTC) for £55m. The acquisition will accelerate Acro’s access to the Chinese market. ZTC is the parent company of Zhejiang Tiancheng Controls Co., a manufacturer of seats for construction vehicles, trucks and cars listed in Shanghai. 

BGF invested £7.8m into Acro in November 2015 and, as a minority partner, has backed the company’s management team since then. The team will continue in their roles.  Acro was founded in 2007 by Chris Brady, Andy Lawler and David Starkey and is now a major player in the global market for economy aircraft seats. BGF’s funding supported investment in design and product development capabilities, supply chain and provided additional working capital to fund the company’s future order pipeline. In 2017 Acro became offerable by Airbus, extending its reach to new-build aircraft. The returns made by BGF will be reinvested to support more growing companies in the UK and Ireland.

 

Acro’s headcount has increased by 50 percent in the last two year while sales have increased by close to 20 percent to around £30m.  Recently the company launched a new economy seat, known as Series 6 and new Premium Economy seat, Series 7. It is expected that under ZTC ownership sales will increase as the company leverages its parent's connections.  According to the founder, the company was not seeking to sell but the acquisition offered the company a major strategic advantage by giving it access to the Chinese market. 

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