A MANUFACTURING business that began life in its founder’s garage 31 years ago is being sold to a global company for £79million.

BOFA International in Poole employs around 250 people making fume and dust extraction technology.

It had its new head office at the Creekmoor Industrial Estate officially opened by the Duke of Kent earlier this year.

Minneapolis-based Donaldson Company, a global leader in the filtration market, has entered a legally binding agreement to buy an 88 per cent stake in the company from a private equity investor.

LDC supported a management buyout in 2015 under which David Cornell, who founded the business in 1987, retired. Since then, annual revenue has almost doubled to £27million and headcount has risen by 50 per cent.

Last year, BOFA opened a European operation in Germany, while its Illinois-based subsidiary BOFA Americas has seen 23 per cent year-on-year growth.

The company has twice received Queen’s Awards for Enterprise – one for international trade and one, last year, for innovation in its Intelligent Operating (iQ) system.

Earlier this year, it featured in the Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200, in recognition of its growing worldwide sales.

Tony Lockwood, managing director of BOFA, said: “We are looking forward to the next chapter in the BOFA story. Innovation and customer service have long been at the heart of our ethos and this will only get stronger as a result of this new partnership.

“There are many exciting developments in the BOFA pipeline, including bringing the iQ2 platform to market in 2019, and with the added strength of Donaldson, we are ambitious to further widen the technology gap with our competitors in the fume and dust extraction market.”

Tod Carpenter, chairman, president and chief executive of Donaldson’s, said: “The acquisition of BOFA aligns well with our strategy by growing our industrial air filtration business and diversifying our company through technology-led filtration solutions.

“I look forward to welcoming BOFA’s employees and customers to Donaldson Company, and supporting the BOFA team as they continue to grow their business.”

Jeff Spethmann, senior vice-president of Donaldson’s industrial products operation, said: “We are excited to leverage BOFA’s high-quality products and strong customer relationships to expand into new industrial air filtration markets and applications.

“With Donaldson’s expertise in filtration technologies and global manufacturing and distribution footprint, we plan to further accelerate BOFA’s global growth and add additional filtration technology to BOFA’s products.”