SME Loans

999 consultants expand with acquisition funded by Mercia loan

A company which helps ambulance and fire services to improve efficiency has acquired a firm which advises police forces, in a seven-figure deal funded by Mercia’s SME Loans.

Operational Research in Health (ORH), which is based in Reading, provides consultancy and software to emergency services to help them operate more efficiently, both on the road and in control rooms. The company has now acquired Process Evolution, which is based in Bromsgrove and provides consultancy and software to the police sector.

ORH is one of only a handful of specialists in its field and has advised 11 out of the 13 ambulance services in the UK in recent years. Established 30 years ago, it now employs 26 staff. The deal will enable it to expand its services and sales of its software products into the police sector. It will also allow for the partial retirement of Peter Loader and Rob Somer, who founded Process Evolution in 2003.

Chris Polden, Managing Director of ORH, said: “The finance provided by SME loans has enabled ORH to acquire Process Evolution, which will not only allow us to expand our offering into the police sector but enable us to provide a better service to the clients of both companies by combining the best elements of their respective areas of expertise. ”

Andy Heaton of Mercia said: “With emergency services under intense pressure, the support provided by ORH is more valuable than ever. This acquisition will enable it to bring its software and services to a wider audience. SME Loans is one of the few debt funds able to provide loans to small firms for acquisitions and buy-outs, which means companies like ORH can access finance for such deals without having to rely on equity funding and have investors take a stake in their business.”

Gary Webb from Complete Commercial Finance, part of the Synergy network, provided fundraising advice to ORH on the deal.