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WFEL building bridges to Switzerland

By Dunedin,  December 01, 2011

Dunedin-backed WFEL secures landmark £57m contract with Swiss armed forces

WFEL, the Stockport-based defence engineering group which is backed by Dunedin, has secured a significant contract to supply £57 million of tactical military bridges to the Swiss armed forces. This agreement follows a highly competitive two-year international procurement contest and as such strengthens WFEL’s position as the world leader in its market.

The deal also typifies Dunedin’s approach of investing in businesses with international growth opportunities.
Dunedin director, Dougal Bennett, who sits on WFEL’s board commented:

“Dunedin was attracted to WFEL on account of its strong position in a highly specialised market and its significant potential for growth – both through winning new defence-based customers and through expansion into complimentary markets. This landmark contract vindicates our confidence and is a great reward for much hard work over the last few years”

He added: “This deal is also a win for UK engineering, demonstrating the unique capabilities that companies like WFEL can showcase on a global stage.”

Ian Wilson, Chief Executive of WFEL, said: “This is a landmark agreement for WFEL and one of the largest single orders in our near century of defence engineering success. The deal follows one of the biggest global bridging procurement contests in many years where the quality of our offering – from design and build through to training and ongoing support services – has helped to once again confirm us as the world leader in this field.

“We’re continuing to attract interest from armed forces around the globe to our bridging systems as a result of our long term strategic sales activity and collaborative engagement with potential users.”

WFEL supplies bridges to more than 40 different armed forces worldwide and Switzerland becomes the third nation to order the DSB, the latest generation of tactical military bridge, after the USA and Turkey, where the company completed an £8.5 million order earlier this year.

WFEL traces its roots as a defence engineering business to 1915 and has been designing and manufacturing tactical military bridges at its Stockport headquarters since the 1970s.

Dunedin backed the £48 million MBO in December 2006. In 2009, WFEL won “Best International Impact” title for the North West, at the inaugural British Venture Capital Association’s (BVCA) ‘CEO of the Year Awards’ in association with Private Equity News.

Dunedin is increasingly involved in growing businesses on an international level. Other Dunedin-backed businesses which are currently undergoing rapid international expansion include: Hawksford, one of the Channel Island’s largest independent trust companies; UPOL, a world leader in automotive refinish products; and Red Commerce, a global supplier of SAP experts.

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