Exova buys 70% of S'pore's Admaterials Technology

A local firm specialising in testing building materials has sold a 70 per cent stake to Britain's Exova Group.

The deal will allow Admaterials Technology to expand beyond Singapore, while Exova will take another step in expanding its materials testing services in the Asia-Pacific.

Admaterials, which employs around 75 people, helps clients lab-test the physical properties of construction materials, such as cement and bricks. Its clients are mostly in Singapore, and they include private contractors and government agencies such as the Housing Board and JTC Corporation.

Its revenue last year was around $8 million, but going overseas has been difficult, managing director Lu Jin Ping told The Straits Times on Tuesday.

"We don't really have the resources to grow outside Singapore. With a global partner like Exova, I see us benefiting in terms of networking and technical expertise. Better staff training is another advantage," he said.

London-listed Exova operates 144 labs and offices in 32 countries, including a lab in Tuas that focuses on metallurgical testing for oil and gas clients.

Exova Asia-Pacific managing director Matt Davies declined to reveal the value of the deal, but said: "Admaterials complements our business in the Asia-Pacific, which is a growth area we want to focus on, outside our core markets in the Americas and Europe.

"We are looking for both organic and inorganic growth. We had seven acquisitions last year, and Admaterials is our first this year. Most likely we will have more deals coming in the next 12 months."

The Government is encouraging small and medium-sized enterprises to seek regional growth via mergers and acquisitions. Last year's Budget enhanced a scheme to give firms a tax allowance of 25 per cent of the acquisition value.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 19, 2016, with the headline 'Exova buys 70% of S'pore's Admaterials Technology'. Print Edition | Subscribe