Lewis based Equateq sold to German company

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HEbridean life sciences business Equateq, based at Breasclete on Lewis, has been acquired by German chemical company BASF.

Equateq with all its employees will be integrated into the Pharma Ingredients and Services unit, which is part of BASF’s Nutrition and Health division. The integration is expected to be completed by the end of 2012. The companies have agreed not to disclose financial details of the transaction.

Adam Kelliher, former owner and founder of Equateq, said: “Bringing together the two companies allows us to combine the global market reach and the long-time experience of BASF with the unique technologies of Equateq.”

Equateq produces fatty acids called lipids which are rich in Omega 3 and used in a wide variety of pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements.

HIE has worked closely with the Lewis business since its inception, providing a range of support services, including funding.

Archie Macdonald, HIE area manager for the Outer Hebrides, said the new owners had been highly impressed by the quality of Equateq.

“HIE has helped Equateq grow into an international leader in a highly specialised and growing market, and its acquisition by BASF is a real vote of confidence in the company’s products, its workforce and its location on Lewis.

“This deal secures just under 50 good quality jobs at Breasclate, and there is every likelihood that BASF will wish to expand operations further on the site.

“It’s great news for the business and for Lewis, which shows that an island location can be competitive in a global marketplace.

“HIE has been very pleased to work with Adam Kelliher and his team at Equateq over many years to establish and grow this important business, and we are delighted they have managed to secure this investment.’

Minister for Enterprise Fergus Ewing said: “This is a major and very welcome development for the Western Isles, securing investment and high quality jobs for the Isle of Lewis.

“Equateq is a great example of a Scottish success story, using a highly skilled team of experts and Scotland’s marine and biological natural resources to produce and manufacture concentrated omega-3 fatty acids.

“The investment by German company BASF will allow the company to expand its manufacturing base and create a significant number of new jobs.