Temple Bright drives TDC’s £10m European transport systems deal

TDC Systems, the Weston-super-Mare based specialist in advanced transport systems, has been acquired by Norwegian electronic toll collection business Q-Free.

The deal, overseen by Bristol law firm Temple Bright, is expected to be worth £10m, if performance targets for 2014 and 2015 are hit. The initial consideration is £5m – made up of £4m in cash and £1m through a share issue.

TDC Systems has sister UK and Australian operations, both of which are included in the sale, and also has an office in Malaysia. The business, set up 16 years ago by founder and managing director Mark Phillips, employs 40 staff and runs a round-the-clock operation for customers in 50 countries across the globe.

It is an industry leader in the research, design, manufacture, installation and maintenance of intelligent transport systems. These include advanced weigh-in-motion systems to monitor truck weights without the need for vehicles to stop, traffic counters and classifiers, journey-time monitoring systems, air-quality monitoring systems, and detection systems for pedestrians and cyclists.

Trondheim-based Q-Free, which is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, sells hi-tech systems for toll collection and automated ticketing globally.

Mr Phillips, who will remain in the business, said: “Becoming a part of Q-Free will further strengthen our market leadership. All employees are very enthusiastic about the opportunity to become part of a much larger international operation with a global network. The additional market exposure and availability of resources will contribute to the further expansion of our business.”

Temple Bright partner Jonathan Poole oversaw the cross-border deal for TDC, while Q-Free was represented by the US law firm Jones Day. Robbie Orr of accountants Brooking, Ruse & Co also advised Mr Phillips.

Jonathan Poole said: “This is a great deal for both sides. It crystallises the value that Mark Phillips and his staff have created in TDC over the past one-and-a-half decades, and opens up new opportunities for TDC and Q-Free because the businesses are so complementary.

“Automated and electronic transport management and monitoring is a growing area for investment around the world, with many different facets to it. There’s every reason to believe TDC, under the umbrella of Q-Free, will continue to thrive and that Q-Free’s move into these complementary markets will pay off very quickly.”

This article appeared in the Bristol Business Newsletter on 11 April 2014.