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15 July, 2022 - 12:02 By Tony Quested

Sepura back in UK ownership as Hytera sells to Epiris

Cambridge CommsTec business Sepura has been sold to London-based private equity group Epiris after several years in Chinese ownership with Hytera Communications.

Hytera bought our former Business of the Year for $92 million cash in 2017. No price has been revealed for the new deal in which the Epiris Fund II bought Sepura.

The sale coincides with Sepura’s 20th anniversary, officially commemorated in March. It has become market leader in more than 20 countries with over two million devices deployed worldwide. 

Its portfolio of TETRA radios and accessories is used globally by public safety users in the police, fire and ambulance services. It has also successfully expanded into the commercial space, supplying transport, mining, oil & gas, and utility companies.

Steve Barber will continue to manage Sepura as CEO whilst Malcolm Miller, with whom Epiris previously worked with as chairman of Audiotonix, will join the company as non-executive chairman.

Barber said of the deal: “With a growing portfolio of world-class critical communications products and a loyal global customer base, Sepura is well positioned to continue its sustained growth. 

“Epiris’ ownership will allow us to increase our investment in new products and technology as well as expanding our reach into new markets. The strengthening of our leading portfolio of TETRA devices, as well as our emerging mission critical LTE portfolio, all based on our own IP, will spearhead our growth plans. 

“It is a very exciting time for Sepura, our customers and our employees as we can now compete more effectively worldwide following our return to UK ownership.”

Ian Wood, partner at Epiris, added: “Sepura is in a unique position. It combines extensive public safety knowledge with strong intellectual property and an extensive UK-based R & D capability that consistently delivers best-in-class innovative products. 

“The company’s ability to develop new applications and devices that embrace emerging technologies and meet customer needs positions it to continue to succeed as a pioneer for many years to come.”

Epiris has more than 25 years' experience of working alongside exceptional management teams to accelerate growth through strategic clarity, operational excellence and M & A.

Epiris Fund II is an institutional private equity fund raised in 2017. Fund II’s current investments include Appello, a leading technology-enabled care provider; Inchcape Shipping Services, one of the world’s largest maritime services providers; Stuart Turner, a producer of pumps and water-boosting products for residential and commercial uses; Sharps, the UK’s leading supplier of bespoke fitted bedroom furniture; The Big Table, operator of the Las Iguanas, Bella Italia and Café Rouge UK restaurant brands; Nucleus, a wealth technology platform; Diamorph, a supplier of advanced material solutions for demanding and safety-critical applications; Bonhams, the global auction house; The Club Company, the UK’s largest country club operator; and Portals, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of “substrate” for banknotes. 

Sepura says its HQ will be remaining in Cambridge – in fact it is currently “recruiting extensively,” according to  head of marketing John Drewnicki. He said: “Epiris is keen to support Sepura management to deliver its business plan, which expects to invest significantly in R & D as we develop the next generation of mission critical devices.

“Sepura is a global market leader with worldwide reach. Its deep expertise in TETRA technology has been developed over decades and provides high barriers to entry.

“The business has been constrained by its current ownership structure and Epiris is excited by the prospect of bringing the business back under UK ownership and investing in development at the forefront mission critical LTE.”

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