Deal round-up 01/09/03

ECI backs ClarityBlue MBO; AMPJE leads Axion funding; TFT lands £1.3m financing round; 3i backs Finnish first round

ECI backs ClarityBlue MBO


ECI Partners has backed a £10m management buyout of ClarityBlue, a customer intelligence consulting and systems integration business from NASDAQ-listed Sand Technology, a Canadian software business.


ClarityBlue was set up four years ago by its current management team and now employs 50 staff. The business which is based in St Albans and employs 50 staff reported turnover last year of more than £11m. Following the MBO, the management team will hold around 40 per cent of the equity in ClarityBlue, with the balance held by ECI. Barclays Bank provided debt financing for the transaction.


AMPJE leads Axion funding


Axeon, a developer of automotive applications, has raised £1.8m in a financing round led by, Aberdeen Murray Johnstone Private Equity (AMJPE) taking its total financing to date to £8.8m. Irish venture capital firm Fourth Level Ventures, which was established earlier this year by Dublin-based Dolmen Securities, also backed the round.


“This additional financing will enable us to strengthen our sales and customer support capabilities in two key markets, North America and Europe, and to build our existing international offices in Detroit and Frankfurt,” said Hamish Grant, founder and chief executive officer of Axeon.


TFT lands £1.3m financing round


Tayside Flow Technologies (TFT), a Dundee-based specialist arterial specialist, has completed its third round of funding. The funding was led by Quayle Munro and the Scottish Co-Investment Fund. Previous investors include Braveheart Ventures, Scottish Enterprise Tayside, and company chairman George Borthwick. The £1.3m financing round will allow the company to progress to human clinical trials early in 2004 with its lead product, a vascular graft used to reduce the risk of amputation.


3i backs Finnish first round


3i has led a E5m financing round for Jutel, a provider of digital content production and broadcasting systems based in Oulu in Finland. After the new ownership arrangements, Jutel will have three major owners: 3i Group, Polar Electro Group and the operational management together with Jutel’s employees. The new financing will be used to accelerate Jutel’s global expansion.