A BUSINESS which started life in its founder’s domestic garage has been bought by its management in a £23m deal.

BOFA International, which went on to become a world leader in fume extraction technology, now employs more than 160 and has an annual turnover of £16m.

The Creekmoor-based company was founded by David Cornell in 1987 in his double garage. It designs, developers and manufactures extraction and filtration equipment for industries including electronics, laser engraving and marking, pharmaceutical, printing, dental and beauty.

Its products are made in the UK, with more than 80 per cent exported to more than 100 countries. It received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2012.

The management buyout was supported by private equity firm LDC Partners, part of the Lloyds Bankiing Group.

Bournemouth-based commercial law firm Steele Raymond and chartered accountants and business advisers Princecroft Willis (PcW) advised the selling shareholder.

Chairman David Cornell will retire, but his son Christian, previously production director, will stay as a shareholder.

The buyout is expected to pave the way for further growth for the company under a management team led by chief executive Tony Lockwood.

Mr Cornell said he had not taken the decision to sell lightly. "I was very impressed with the support my family and I received from both Steele Raymond and Princecroft Willis throughout the sale process,” he added.

“Both teams were exceptionally knowledgeable, efficient and dedicated to ensuring this complex deal was completed successfully."

Steele Raymond's chairman, partner and company and commercial solicitor Tim Stone – who led the transaction together with partners Craig Hardman and Carol Elliott – said: "It was a real pleasure supporting David and his two sons to help achieve their ambitions with this deal.

"BOFA has enjoyed a remarkable period of growth under their guidance and we wish the management team and its backers well in continuing that success over the coming years."

James Robinson, director at Princecroft Willis, said the firm had worked with the Cornell family and BOFA since 2008.

He added: "We have seen the company grow to new premises, increase turnover from £4m to over £16m and expand into America and Europe.

"BOFA is an amazing company with industry leading products and I am confident that the company will continue to grow and be a flagship for manufacturing and engineering in Dorset and the UK.”