Scotland gains industrial design heavyweight after latest US swoop

US-based Pivot International has made a further acquisition in Scotland creating one of the country’s largest product design and engineering outfits.
David Ross, managing director of A2E. Picture: ContributedDavid Ross, managing director of A2E. Picture: Contributed
David Ross, managing director of A2E. Picture: Contributed

The Kansas-headquartered group has snapped up Livingston-based A2E for an undisclosed sum. It follows Pivot’s acquisition of Glasgow-based product design company WideBlue in April 2018.

Established in 2002, A2E works across a range of industries including oil and gas, defence and security, smart energy, medical and life science. It offers a full service ranging from concept development, through prototype testing to designs for manufacturing.

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Mark Dohnalek, president and chief executive of Pivot International, said the company’s second UK acquisition would bolster its presence in Europe.

“A2E and WideBlue will complement each other as they each have different skill sets and are working with clients in non-competing sectors,” he added.

“I have been very impressed by the technical and engineering talent in both companies which I believe will position us as one of the leading product design, development and manufacturing solutions groups in Europe.”

David Ross, managing director of A2E, said: “The acquisition will help serve our clients with an expanded team of experts, capabilities, resources and locations globally. We are very optimistic about our affiliation with Pivot and its effect for our clients and our employees.”

WideBlue was set up as an independent entity in 2006 after a management buyout from Polaroid’s European research and development arm.

The firm has delivered hundreds of projects for a variety of organisations from start-ups and university spin-outs to multinational corporations. It is frequently engaged in collaborative projects working with European research organisations and universities, especially in the areas of imaging, optoelectronics and bio-medical engineering.

Since its acquisition by Pivot, WideBlue has grown annual revenues by 50 per cent and increased headcount from 14 to 18 highly qualified engineers, scientists and product designers.

Managing director Russell Overend said: “The acquisition has been a win-win for both parties. Pivot was searching for a company which could act as its European base and complement its own product design and manufacturing resources in the US and Asia and we were looking for a route which would help us scale the business on the world stage.”

Dohnalek added: “Pivot has been trading for 47 years and over the past five years we have experienced annual growth of 141 per cent.”