AN ELECTRONICS manufacturer has been acquired in a management buyout with a difference after the two founders sold it to their sons.

Electronic Technicians Ltd (ETL), which employs 50 people at its Ferndown base, makes equipment such as flight recorders, navigational equipment and vehicle climate control systems.

It has been bought by managing director Stuart Crook and sales director James Arnold – whose fathers Ken Crook and Pip Arnold set up the business in 1984.

Stuart Crook said: “It is very much business as usual here as both James and I have been with the company for many years and know it inside out.

“We see this very much as a positive change, a natural progression keeping the business in the family and securing its future for years ahead.

“We are looking for steady growth as we expand and modernise the business moving forward, offering an even more professional approach.”

The founders will be still involved as advisers to the business, whose clients include multi-national companies around the world. Among its other products are contamination monitoring equipment, rescue service equipment, sonar devices and DNA analysis products.

James Arnold said: “We are very much focused on customer satisfaction. We intend to continue to invest heavily in equipment, business tools, services and people, particularly with regard to apprenticeships.”

The third member of the management team is operations director Phil Scantlebury.

ETL was founded on the Trinity Industrial Estate in Wimborne and bought its current premises on Ferndown Industrial Estate in 1996, acquiring the neighbouring factory 11 years later to create a 12,00sqft site.

Ken Crook said: “It is great that the boys are carrying on the business because they know it so well and it keeps ETL as a family business.

“This progression deal secures the company’s future – it’s 36 years now so let’s hope for another 36.”

Pip Arnold said: “Technology has moved on an awful lot since Ken and I founded the business, but we keep up with it.”

South West accountancy firm PKF Francis Clark advised on the buyout with Poole office managing partner James Robinson, who has worked with ETL since 1995, helping to structure the takeover deal.

He said: “We facilitated the changes as a smooth process over a period of time, rather than loading too much financial burden on the company and its directors through a straightforward buyout.”

Law firm Frettens, of Christchurch and Ringwood, advised on the legal aspects.

Managing partner Matt Fretten said: “We were dealing with the reorganisation of the company and the ongoing relationship between Stuart and James, who are responsible for the company’s next chapter. How a business evolves through the generations is vital to its wellbeing.”