3i sells UK inspection firm

Marion Dakers
BRITISH private equity firm 3i is to sell its commodities testing business to French health and safety experts Bureau Veritas for £450m.

The purchase of Inspectorate is the biggest ever for Bureau Veritas, and is expected to boost its earnings for the year and make it one of the top three global goods inspection firms.

“Bureau Veritas now attains a critical size in the very promising commodities testing and inspection market,” chief executive Frank Piedelievre said.

He added: “We are extending our business portfolio and bolstering our international network in the US and most emerging economies.”

Inspectorate, which is based in Essex but has 150 laboratories in 60 countries and over 7,000 staff, has doubled revenue since 2006 to £246m in 2009.

Buyout giant 3i bought the firm and its holding company Inspicio in December 2007.

Alan Giddins, partner at 3i, said the sale marked an exiting new chapter for the business.

Giddins said: “Our experience in the testing and inspection sector has enabled us to support Inspectorate in its consolidation and international growth strategy, making it an ideal partner for further growth with Bureau Veritas.”