Judges Scientific plc, listed on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange (“AIM”), heads a group dedicated to growth in the scientific instruments sector both through a “buy and build” strategy and organic growth. Formed towards the end of 2002 with a different business model in mind, the company made its first foray into the world of scientific instruments in May 2005 with the acquisition of Fire Testing Technology. The directors identified scientific instruments as a sector in which the United Kingdom could justly boast of being a global centre of excellence. With a large number of privately-owned companies created by entrepreneurial scientists and engineers, the Judges management team recognised the sector as being ripe for consolidation. Since the FTT acquisition, a further 14 businesses have been brought into the Judges family of companies in furtherance of its strategic aims.
Strategy and Business Model
Our strategy is to develop the Group through a “buy-and-build” programme of carefully structured acquisitions, supported by long-term organic individual business development.
Target companies need to meet exacting performance criteria that supports sustainable sales, profits and cash generation. Core value is created through the repayment of debt used to acquire target companies and organic sales growth. The scientific instrument sector is a robust market, supporting long-term organic growth and cashflow generation, underpinned by long-term global drivers, based on growth in higher education and the industrial drive to optimise everything; and to optimise requires measurement.
The UK is a recognised worldwide centre of excellence for scientific instrument development and manufacture, placing us in a good position to consolidate and support a fragmented market, characterised by over 2,000 privately held businesses in the UK alone.
1. Leverage expertise and capital
We use our knowledge of the scientific instrument sector to identify and progress suitable acquisition targets. Through longstanding relationships, we leverage our access to capital
enabling us to act decisively and in a timely fashion.
2. Accumulate sustainable, established businesses
The companies we acquire have established reputations in worldwide niche markets and must generate sustainable profits and cash. We pay three to six times EBIT according to
size and borrow up to 2.5 times EBITDA at 2–4% depending on the Group’s level of gearing.
3. Create an environment where businesses can thrive
We buy successful businesses with long-term futures. Our approach is to create additional opportunities through guidance, business support, expertise and capital, under an umbrella of robust financial controls.