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A KEY stake in York-based Measurement Devices Ltd (MDL) has been sold in a multi-million pound deal to help fund its expansion in the fast-growing global eye-safe laser measurement technology sector.
A 29 per cent shareholding in family-owned MDL, has been sold to global metrology and healthcare products manufacturer, Renishaw plc, Gloucestershire, which has its own measurement products range. An agreement provides for the remaining shares in MDL to be bought during the next four years.
Founded in 1983 MDL, which also has a Marine Centre of Excellence in Aberdeen, and a base in Houston, Texas, has become a global pioneer in manufacturing eye-safe, laser-based, time-of-flight measurement systems used in scores of applications worldwide in quarrying, mining, marine positioning, aviation, civil engineering and traffic control.
No changes are anticipated at MDL, which has 50 staff, with founder Steve Ball remaining president in Houston and Elaine Ball remaining managing director in the UK. Steve Ball is also the chairman of the MDL Group.
Renishaw is a major international manufacturing business with 1,358 staff in the UK and 741 overseas. The company, which has a £181.6m turnover, was founded in 1979 by chairman and chief executive, Sir David McMurtry and deputy chairman, John Deer.
The company’s core skills are in measurement, motion control, precision machining, spectroscopy and medical devices with products that help customers enhance their manufacturing efficiency, raise product quality, maximise research capabilities and improve the efficacy of medical procedures.
Within the metrology sector, Renishaw products are used in applications that encompass machine tool automation, high-speed component measurement, machine calibration and position feedback. In healthcare, applications include CAD/CAM dentistry, stereotactic neurosurgery and medical diagnostics.
Steve Ball says: “The similarities between MDL and Renishaw are amazing. The main difference being that Renishaw measures small things and we measure large things. With Renishaw’s support and investment, MDL will accelerate its drive to become a world-class company benefiting all our stakeholders and customers.”
Renishaw assistant chief executive, Ben Taylor, says “We are very pleased to announce our acquisition of a stake in MDL. We have many reasons to be interested in such a high- quality business, one being that its laser systems complement Renishaw’s own metrology products and have potential to be integrated with them.
“MDL will retain its independent distribution network although, where there are gaps, they may benefit by support from our own global subsidiary network. It is our intention that the two businesses will also share their extensive knowledge of measurement technologies to develop new products for various measurement applications.”
MDL has two operating divisions: Sensors, which designs and manufactures generic time-of-flight laser distance meters and Systems, which designs and manufactures laser-based positioning and 3D-scanning products.