Swiss takeover of specialist UK water treatment firm handled by Shakespeare Martineau in Bristol

February 23, 2023

The Bristol office of law firm Shakespeare Martineau has advised on the sale of a long-standing and highly specialised biotech client in a cross-border deal.

Tarn-Pure’s technology is used primarily to treat and control water borne pathogens that are harmful to human health, such as legionella, E.coli and pseudomonas. 

The Cardiff-based firm is one of only three businesses authorised by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the GB Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to place on the market copper and silver conformed for use as biocidal active substances which may be formulated into biocidal products.

Its acquisition by Switzerland-based materials, innovation and hygiene technologies experts HeiQ for £850,000 means CEO Robert Collins can now step back from the day-to-day running of the business.

The acquisition will support HeiQ’s position as the key supplier of elemental copper and elemental silver to the wider hygiene industry for use as safe and effective antimicrobials, particularly in the face of changing EU regulations that will see a number of biocides phased out in the coming years.

Founded in 2005, HeiQ creates textile technologies, high-performance surface coatings and polymers, probiotics and consumer healthcare goods. 

Subject to adjustments for cash, working capital and debt positions as of closing date consideration for Tarn-Pure will be approximately £850,000, with half in cash and half through the issue of new ordinary shares in HeiQ.

Bristol-based Shakespeare Martineau partner Paul Hardman, pictured, who led on the deal, said: “I was delighted to help our client achieve this sale having looked after Tarn-Pure for the last 10 years.

“This is a great deal for both sides. Our client was looking to sell their business as they wished to step back from day-to-day management but was keen to see it bought by a company that understands the highly regulated market that Tarn-Pure works in and which will take the technology to a wider market, with potentially significant increase in applications.”

Tarn-Pure CEO Robert Collins added: “Tarn-Pure is a small business trading in a complex and highly regulated marketplace.

“Finding a buyer of the quality of HeiQ leaves the business in excellent hands for the future. The process of managing the transaction was made much easier by the guidance and advice provide by Shakespeare’s corporate finance team, headed by Paul Hardman, who has been our legal advisor since the current shareholders acquired Tarn-Pure in December 2011.”

HeiQ EVP Tom Ellefsen said: “The acquisition of Tarn-Pure’s regulatory asset strengthens HeiQ’s ability to offer the market access to Europe and the UK for products containing antimicrobial copper and silver.

“I expect our sales in silver and copper technologies to significantly grow in 2023 thanks to now one of the strongest regulatory portfolios in the market.”

National full-service law firm Shakespeare Martineau completed its merger with historic Bristol firm GL Law last year which expanded its reach into the South West for the first time.

The firm is part of rapidly expanding legal and professional services group Ampa, which also includes consumer law firm Lime Solicitors, planning consultancy Marrons Planning, uninsured loss recovery experts Corclaim and cyber security consultancy CSS Assure.

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