Ward Hadaway hits £160m mark with IDS deal | 27 September 07

Law firm Ward Hadaway has clocked up £160m worth of cash raising deals for North plcs in the past six months after advising medical equipment company IDS on a £12m placing.

The money raised via the share placing on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) helped South Tyneside-based IDS (Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings plc) to acquire Franco-Belgian group Biocode Hycel in a deal which Ward Hadaway also advised on.

As well as IDS, Ward Hadaway has also advised Washington-based manufacturer Tanfield Group, Newcastle-based leisure group Ultimate Leisure, Consett glassmaker Romag and China Goldmines on AIM fund-raising since March.

IDS makes medical testing kits and bought Biocode because of the French company’s expertise in the haematology and biochemistry fields, and its 3x3 Instrument, heralding what IDS believes represents a step-wise change in future prospects.

The acquisition was made with £7.4m cash and £8.1m in IDS shares. The South Tyneside company placed five million new shares at 240p each to raise the cash part of the deal and for additional working capital.

Andrew Hoyle, who recently joined Ward Hadaway, has acted for IDS for over ten years and together with David Crone, head of plc at Ward Hadaway, led the firm’s team on the deal.

Mr Hoyle said: “This is the first major deal which Ward Hadaway has completed for IDS.

“The company is well positioned for substantial growth and development and we are delighted to help the company pursue its international ambitions.”

Biocode has operations in four locations – at Massy, Rennes and Pouilly in France and at Liege in Belgium – with 132 staff and sales of £8.1m last year.

Mr Crone said: “This was a complicated deal to complete because we were dealing with both French and Belgian lawyers on the acquisition as well as working on raising money in the UK at the same time.”

As part of the deal, Alain Rousseau, chief executive of Biocode Hycel and co-inventor of the 3x3 Instrument, has been appointed to the board of IDS as engineering director.

Dr Roger Duggan, managing director of IDS, said: “It is a delight to work with Andrew Hoyle again, and to succeed in what has been a protracted and intricate acquisition.

“Confidence in advisors in such a situation is invaluable, and Andrew and his team at Ward Hadaway have met our every expectation.”