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Fairley Gunn Group, a North East-based engineering services group, has continued its ambitious growth strategy with the acquisition of x-ray technology specialist Axi-Tek Ltd and its wholly owned subsidiary Metrix NDT Ltd.

The acquisition strengthens Fairley Gunn Group’s position in the UK and Ireland non-destructive testing (NDT) market and expands its geographic footprint.

Midlands-based X-ray technology specialist, Axi-Tek was founded in 2012 and the business acquired Metrix NDT in 2020. Metrix, which is a supplier and designer of x-ray inspection components, systems and services, provides  manufacturers, universities, research organisations and technology innovators with standard and bespoke digital radiography inspection systems.

Nicholas Fox, the former managing director and technical lead of Metrix will continue to work with the business, alongside Fairley Gunn Group to ensure continuity with existing clients and to help develop new opportunities for the Group.

This transaction marks the fourth acquisition by Fairley Gunn Group since it was founded by Peter Fairley and Jonathan James-Gunn in 2021. The Group, which employs more than 40 people and turns over in excess of £5.5m, was formed after it acquired Jarrow-based NDT Electronic Services, which is a supplier of industrial radiography equipment and systems.

The Group subsequently acquired Northumberland-based Gilligan Engineering Services, which supplies and services industrial gamma radiography equipment, systems and sources for the NDT industry, and Select Controls Systems, located in Gateshead, which designs and manufactures control panel and automation systems for a range of sectors.

Fairley Gunn Group aims to continue its organic and acquisitive growth through a fundraising programme, which will be led by leading Newcastle-based RG Corporate Finance (RGCF).

Advising Fairley Gunn Group on the acquisition of Axi-Tek and Metrix NDT from RG Corporate Finance was partner and head of corporate finance, Carl Swansbury, CF senior manager Connor McBride and CF executive Euan Mulholland.

RG Director Andy Cameron, RG senior manager Will Spafford and RG manager Jordan Trower-Quinn carried out financial and tax due diligence on the acquisition, with RG tax partner Simon Whiteside and RG tax director, Simon Hopwood providing tax advice.  Legal advice to Fairley Gunn Group was provided by Newcastle-based Mincoffs Solicitors led by corporate partner Chris Hughes and corporate associate solicitor Max Gilchrist.

The shareholders of Axi-Tek and Metrix NDT were advised by Michael Knibbs from Cenpro Legal and Roy Harby and Tom Marshall from Lemans.

Peter Fairley, managing director and 50% shareholder of Fairley Gunn Group, said: “We are very proud to welcome Axi-Tek and Metrix NDT into the Group, extending our capabilities to support the NDT sector with advanced radiography inspection systems. Fairley Gunn widens our solution offering with standard and bespoke digital inspection systems, and Metrix benefits from an increase in resource and engineering support availability. The businesses share our vision to champion and support British manufacturing, and through this acquisition we are strengthening the opportunities for the group by growing our customer base and complementary services.”

Carl Swansbury, partner and head of corporate finance at RGCF, said: “Fairley Gunn Group has delivered strong, sustainable growth through the organic growth activities of its individual businesses and through its acquisition strategy.  We are delighted to have advised Fairly Gunn Group on this acquisition.  It represents the ambitions of the founders and its workforce to deliver niche and specialist engineering services that are in demand from a cross-section of industries.  We are confident that the next stage of Fairley Gunn Group’s growth, which will involve a meaningful fundraise, will ensure the group has the capital required to fund further acquisitions.”

Chris Hughes, partner at Mincoffs Solicitors, said: “We were delighted to advise Fairley Gunn Group on their acquisition of Axi-Tek and Metrix NDT, the latest in a series of significant acquisitions for the Group. It was fantastic to deliver a successful outcome for Peter and the management team and we look forward to working together in future as they continue to expand their reach and position in the marketplace.”

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