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3i-backed Element Materials Technology secures refinancing package and acquires MERL Ltd

3i-backed Element Materials Technology (“Element”) has secured $93.25 million of new financing to support its continued buy-and-build strategy to become the recognised leader for materials testing and inspection, product qualification testing and failure analysis - servicing primarily the Aerospace & Defense, Oil & Gas, Transportation and Power Generation industries - in the North America, Europe and Asia markets.

George Archer, 3i Banking Director commented:  “New financing commitments were significantly oversubscribed, indicating the quality of Element’s credit. All five syndicate banks currently lending to Element participated in the transaction with two new banks joining, as well.The upsizing of the debt facilities provides significant firepower for further acquisitions.”

The new financing has already been used for Element’s acquisition of Materials Engineering Research Laboratory Limited (MERL) headquartered in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, UK. The addition of MERL and its world-class reputation for the evaluation, analysis and testing of polymeric materials, components and structures is further evidence of Elements resolve to providing industry-leading service for the growing implementation of non-metallics.

Founded in 1986 MERL has developed into an independent company with thousands of international clients throughout the Oil & Gas, Aerospace, and Land Transportation sectors. Their range of projects include ensuring the safe and reliable use of materials in offshore Oil & Gas exploration, new polymer material for heart valves, and composite materials in aircraft structures.

This acquisition is preceded by two additional high-profile acquisitions in the U.S. - Mar-Test of Cincinnati, Ohio and DTL of Detroit, Michigan. Further to these acquisitions, very material capital investments in new capacity and technology have been made at its Charlotte, Cleveland, Huntington Beach and Wixom facilities.

Charles Noall, President and CEO of Element, commented: “I’m pleased to see our growth strategy, hard work and sound financial performance validated and supported by these new funds.  The acquisition of MERL emphasizes our continued commitment to reinforce our service offering of quality-critical polymer and composite testing in multiple industries. We will remain agile in seeking new opportunities for increased capacity, innovation and capabilities for our growing list of world-class customers.”

Dr. Rod Martin, CEO of MERL Ltd, commented: “We are delighted to join Element.  Not only will this allow us to give our existing clients a much wider technology offering, it also presents MERL staff with greater opportunities to broaden their skills working closely with Element laboratories throughout the U.S. and Europe.”

For further information, contact:

Laurie Yeh 
Tel: +44 20 7975 3126

Notes to editors:

About 3i
3i is a leading international investor focused on mid-market private equity, infrastructure and debt management across Europe, Asia and the Americas. As at 31 March 2012, 3i had total assets under management of £10.5bn, including £6.3bn advised or managed on behalf of third parties.

About Element Materials Technology
Element is a global network of laboratories with experts specializing in materials testing, product qualification testing and failure analysis for the Aerospace & Defense, Oil & Gas, Power Generation, and Transportation sectors. Their team of 1000 scientists, engineers and technicians work in laboratories located throughout the U.S. and Europe.

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