FCI stake boosts Certus inspection services

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A PRIVATE-EQUITY backed investor with a £20 million war chest yesterday snapped up a stake in an Inverness-based fish inspection company as it builds up a portfolio in the food sector.

Edinburgh-based Certus Compliance Group, which is funded by London-based Canter Equity Partners, remained tight-lipped over how much cash it had invested in Food Certification International (FCI).

But a spokeswoman for Certus said the deal was part of its strategy to bring together companies working in the food inspection industry so that customers could save costs and time when it came to dealing with inspectors. FCI’s inspectors carry out work on behalf of quality- assurance schemes run by the Marine Stewardship Council, the Soil Association and the prestigious “Label Rouge” for Scottish farmed salmon. The firm also has offices in Italy and Spain.

Last year, Certus took over Edinburgh-based Scottish Food Quality Certification (SFQC), which certifies foods from the agriculture sector for schemes including those run by Quality Meat Scotland. The latest deal means Certus can now offer inspections for fish and meat.

Certus chairman Robert Morgan said: “I’m excited to be investing in another Scottish business, which is set to develop into a key international player within the certification industry.”

Canter, a spin-out from Fidelity Equity Partners, has £22.7m invested in Derby-based Picsolve, and sold information firm Complinet to Thomson Reuters in 2010.