PETERLEE-BASED Seaward Group has been acquired by Metrawatt International GmbH for an undisclosed sum.

THE County Durham business employs around 170 people and is a market leading manufacturer of electronic test and measurement instruments used in a wide variety of electrical, medical, industrial and energy sector applications.

Under the new arrangements Seaward will become part of Metrawatt’s GMC Instrumentation Group, a collaboration of separate specialist test equipment manufacturing businesses based in Germany, Switzerland and the USA, and with a global international sales network.

Under the terms of the deal, the Seaward Group name and its product brands will remain intact. Manufacturing will continue as normal at the company’s operation in County Durham, along with its overseas sales offices in the USA and Malaysia.

The directors of both businesses believe that there is a very good synergy between the two companies in terms of product ranges, geographical spread and main markets served.

Rod Taylor, founder of Seaward in 1982 and chairman of the company, said: “This is a very positive development for both companies, bringing new opportunities in terms of enhanced technical capabilities and a stronger global market presence.

“Seaward has been very successful as an independent T&M business, but developing a global presence is a significant challenge and being an important part of a larger multinational group brings the opportunity for the business to achieve this much more quickly and effectively.

“Our presence in the UK will remain as strong as it always has been. In fact, one of the attractions of linking up with GMC means that Seaward can make the most of the high global growth potential of its products without losing its brand identity or the core values that have been associated with the business.”

Seaward has successfully grown its business in recent years and has a turnover of around £16 million. Export has become an important and growing feature of the company’s development, representing 50 – 60% of turnover over the last 12 months.

The company now supplies products to over 60 countries across the globe, recently breaking into Japan, China and a variety of South American countries. Earlier this year, Andrew Upton became Seaward’s managing director, when founder Rod Taylor took on the chairman’s role.

Andrew said: “Seaward will be one of the largest business units in the expanded GMC Instrumentation division and will have a crucial role to play in helping the group realise its ambitions for growth.

“Both parties stand to benefit from the new collaboration, with the new arrangements leveraging the technologies, manufacturing capabilities and market presence of both companies.

“Under the new ownership it will remain business as usual for all parts of the business and the products that are manufactured in Peterlee will be central to the group’s future expansion plans.”

The Nuremburg-headquartered Metrawatt is a worldwide market leader in the development and manufacture of test products and systems used in the electrical, energy and related sectors. The GMC Instruments Group employs just under 600 people and has an annual turnover of around £65 million.