By Kristy Dorsey

Shares in Weir Group closed higher yesterday after the engineering giant revealed plans to acquire a Canadian mining technology business in a deal that could be worth up to £148 million.

The Glasgow-based company said Motion Metrics of Vancouver is an “ideal partner” in its ambition to playing a leading role in the mining sector. The Canadian firm is said to be a leading developer of artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D rugged machine vision technology used to increase safety, efficiency and sustainability of mining operations.

Motion Metrics will be folded into Weir’s ESCO division, with its Vancouver headquarters to become Weir’s global centre for excellence in AI and machine vision technology. Acquired in July 2018, ESCO’s team of researchers, data scientists and engineers are responsible for digitisation across Weir’s wider product portfolio.

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The cash deal includes £89m upfront, with up to a further £59m payable at the end of 2024 depending on revenue and profit performance. The transaction will be funded through cash and existing banking facilities and is expected to close before the end of this year.

“Motion Metrics not only provides access to innovative and highly relevant technology that will accelerate growth in our ESCO division, but it also brings world-class expertise in AI, rugged 3D machine vision technology and data science that is applicable across the group,” chief executive Jon Stanton said.

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“This acquisition is fully aligned with our strategy and our commitment to grow ahead of our markets, expand our margins and significantly reduce our customers’ environmental footprint.”

Founded in 1999 by Shahram Tafazoli, Motion Metrics generated revenues of £9m this year and was “modestly profitable”.

Shares in Weir, which took a hit last month after the company revealed it had been the victim of a cyberattack, closed yesterday’s trading 48.5p higher at 1,820p.