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Virgin Wines backer Connection Capital injects £5.9m in the lab equipment supplier to Pfizer, GSK and the University of Cambridge

4 April 2018

Lab equipment manufacturer HEL, which counts Pfizer, Glaxosmithkline and the University of Cambridge among its clients, has pocketed a £5.9m investment from Connection Capital.

The business, which supplies institutions from chemical companies to academic bodies, typically offers products such as "reaction stations" which are used to detect thermal hazards or use catalysts to test chemical reactions.

Founded in 1987 by Jasbir Singh, who spotted a market opportunity for hazard testing equipment to improve safety in chemical processing while scaling up production, now wants to expand into fast-growing markets such as Asia.

“Having Connection Capital’s backing is a major next step for HEL," Singh said. "As well as delivering financial investment to help us continue our growth trajectory, they are also supporting us in a number of other important ways including identifying a new, high quality chairman to help drive the business forward.”

Connection Capital is an investment firm which pools together money from wealthy private clients to help them invest in asset classes such as private equity and litigation funding, where the average cheque size for an investment would usually be beyond their reach.

“With no bank debt involved, the structure of the deal was also attractive to our clients," said Connection Capital's investment director Luke Matthews. "It was seen to be an investment with a lower than normal private equity risk but with strong investment fundamentals of a recurring paid interest stream from a highly cash generative business, with the prospect of sharing in HEL’s growth.”

HEL is based in Borehamwood, but also has offices in the US, India and China and employs 51 staff and contractors.

A version of this article appeared in City AM on 4th April 2018.