Surrey-based Tanvec is a pharmaceutical and biotechnology engineer and consultant that employs 200 people. It provides a range of services, from advising companies on the design and layout of factories to process improvement consultancy and IT support.
It recently carried out the design and project management of a £10m biotech laboratory for Cantab in Cambridge and clients include GlaxoWellcome and SmithKline Beecham.
Sir Frank said the acquisition would allow Bovis, which does £600m of pharmaceuticals work a year, to offer global clients a more complete service.
“Up to now, we couldn’t offer clients any more than to manage their construction. But now we can provide consultancy, design, process engineering and procurement of plant technology,” he said.
No redundancies are planned as a result of the Tanvec takeover, and chief executive Jack Haggett will continue to manage the business.
Haggett said: “This is a really unusual thing for Bovis to do. The rationale is that the sector is very technology-dependent and, up to now, Bovis lacked that expertise.”
Working under the name Bovis-Tanvec, the new division will offer its services alongside Bovis’ construction management expertise.
Sir Frank said the failed merger with WS Atkins last year had led Bovis to rethink its business strategy. “We decided we wanted to expand into the sectors we saw had the biggest growth potential in the next decade,” he said. “These were pharmaceuticals, food processing and telecoms.”
Sir Frank said pharmaceuticals would be the biggest of the three. “We should be making £10m profit from pharmaceuticals within 10 years,” he said.
Bovis has assembled a team of telecommunications experts to win work direct, rather than going on the acquisition trail. An announcement is expected within the next few weeks of major contracts in the USA and South America.
Sir Frank said expansion in food processing was proving slowest.
The next move would be either a purchase or the adoption of a strategy similar to the one used in telecoms, he added.
- Bovis has responded to press reports that its multimillion-pound flotation by parent company P&O will go ahead this autumn rather than next year, as expected.
A Bovis spokesperson said the company aimed to have the final preparations in place as soon as possible to allow it to float as soon as market conditions were suitable.
She added: “While we have not made a final decision on location, the feeling is that London may be more appropriate than New York because of the familiarity of the brand name in the UK.”
Sir Frank said: “We are getting ready and we will be ready when the market is right.”