Bureau Veritas snaps up Inspectorate

Inspectorate ranks among the global leaders in commodities testing and inspection, a market which covers a wide range of inspection and laboratory testing services for oil and petrochemical products, metals and minerals, and agricultural products.

Founded in 1885 and headquartered in Witham, UK, the company operates from 150 laboratories in 60 countries, employing over 7,000 people.

Inspectorate serves three main market segments: oil and petrochemicals, which generated 59 per cent of its 2009 revenue and in which it is number two in the US; metals and minerals, accounting for 26 per cent of 2009 revenue and in which it is number two in trade services globally; and agricultural products and other goods, which generated 15 per cent of revenue and in which the company ranks number three globally.

The acquisition of Inspectorate will make Paris-based Bureau Veritas a world leader in commodities testing and inspection, doubling the size of its laboratory network to 330 sites and offering the largest range of services in the conformity assessment sector: industry, construction, marine, consumer products, commodities, systems certification, in-service inspection & verification and government services.

In recent years, Inspectorate has posted high growth in revenue, which has doubled since 2006. In 2009, despite the difficult economic environment, its business held up well, with organic growth of seven per cent raising its revenues to £246 million (€280 million).

Following the acquisition, Bureau Veritas will employ 46,000 people in more than 140 countries, and will have revenues of around €3 billion.

Frank Piedelièvre, chairman and CEO of Bureau Veritas, stated: "This acquisition is a unique opportunity for Bureau Veritas. In addition to leadership positions in its seven businesses, Bureau Veritas now attains a critical size in the very promising commodities testing and inspection market, in which the Group will now become a key player.

“By integrating a company of Inspectorate's quality and reputation, we are extending our business portfolio and bolstering our international network in the US and most emerging economies. This is a major strategic move for the Group".

Neil Hopkins, CEO of Inspectorate, added: "We are happy to join forces with a global leader and a reference within the industry. Bureau Veritas is the ideal partner for accelerating our development thanks to the strength of its network and its complementary technical expertise".

With a potential currently estimated at over €5 billion worldwide, the commodities testing and inspection market is driven by increased globalisation in commodities trading, as well as the rising requirements of emerging countries, tighter regulations and a tendency among clients to outsource their laboratories.

The market has very few global players—including Inspectorate—and benefits from high barriers to entry because of the requirements for a global network of accredited laboratories, proven technical knowledge and an excellent reputation with the major operators within the commodities sector.

Bureau Veritas is the world's second largest group in conformity assessment and certification services. Founded in 1828, it has over 39,000 employees in 900 offices and 180 laboratories in 140 countries.