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Crawford wins Maven funding

A COMPANY that supplied products used to test athletes for banned drugs at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games has won a multi-million pound funding injection as it eyes expansion.

South Lanarkshire-based ­Crawford Scientific has secured £3.9 million investment from Maven Capital Partners ahead of a push for growth in international markets.

A specialist in chromatography, which can be used to separate the elements contained in liquids and gases, Crawford aims to ­capitalise on growing demand for the technology in industries like food and drink and chemicals production.

Founder Sam Crawford noted whisky firms are using the process to identify counterfeit Scotch.

He said Crawford Scientic provided consumables that were used in the process for testing competitors for banned substances at the recent Commonwealth Games and at the London Olympics in 2012.

The investment by Glasgow-based Maven follows a period of rapid growth at Crawford Scientific, which also provides advice on how to get the best results from chromotography technology.

It is on course for sales of £11m in the year to September, compared with £8.5m two years ago.

With a head office in Strathaven, Crawford Scientific has 35 employees.

Mr Crawford said the funding from Maven could help the company accelerate growth significantly. "We have developed a solid business and grown substantially over the last five years," he said. "What we are looking for is to take the next step."

He said Crawford sees big opportunities to grow overseas, where the firm has already developed a big following.

The company has developed an online learning product which has more than 20,000 subscribers around the world.

Some of the funding could be used to help Crawford establish overseas operations and for acquisitions.

Maven, which is acquiring a significant minority stake in Crawford Scientific, said the company is well placed for growth in what is a big market.

It said the global market for products and services related to chromatography is valued at $7.4 billion (£4.5bn) and predicted to grow between four and six per cent annually.

David Milroy, investment director at Maven, said: "Sam has done a fantastic job in building the business and has surrounded himself with a great team. We have been impressed by the technical capability of the individuals that enable the company to present to the market a true end-to-end Chromatography offering."

Mr Crawford will continue to lead the business alongside the members of the senior management team, who will become shareholders through the deal.

Sean Kerr, a former head of the European arm of the Exova materials testing group, has joined Crawford Scientific as chairman.

The company is the sixth Maven has added to its portfolio in the UK this year, and the second in Scotland. It is on course to beat its record of seven new UK private equity deals, set in 2013.

In April Maven invested £7.5m in RMEC, a Forfar-based oil services business.

Mr Crawford, a chemistry graduate, started Crawford Scientific in 1985 after spending five years selling chromotography equipment for an American firm, Waters Inc.

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