Millbrook to merge with French vehicle testing giant

Jan 12, 2021

Millbrook Proving Ground.

AUTOMOTIVE testing facility Millbrook is set to complete its merger with the French group UTAC CERAM.

Both parties have confirmed they have reached an agreement to merge their operations to create a market-leading group in vehicle testing, homologation and emerging technologies for autonomous, connected and electric vehicles. 

The transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021, subject to the normal regulatory clearances. The merger would double the group’s revenues.

The combined group will draw on significant technological assets and technical expertise to meet the rapidly changing environment facing the automotive industry. 

Millbrook has extensive expertise in automotive electric driveline development, in particular through its battery and electric drivetrain test centres in the UK and USA. Its services will complement UTAC CERAM’s expertise in ADAS and Euro NCAP testing and in cybersecurity, connectivity and simulation.

The group will operate several test centres throughout the world: in France, in the UK at Millbrook near Ampthill and Leyland in Lancashire, in the USA, Finland and in Morocco where a brand new test centre offering a track where vehicles are exposed to extreme heat is due to open in 2021.

Millbrook president Connor McCormack said: “The highly-complementary skills, services and technologies of UTAC CERAM and Millbrook will enable us to extend our offering, which will benefit our customers the world over. 

“In the year of our 50th anniversary, combining the two businesses positions us well to lead the market in technical testing, vehicle homologation and new technology. It is an exciting adventure in which everyone at Millbrook is proud to be involved.”

Millbrook has been expanding internationally since 2015 and employs around 700 people at its various locations. In 2019, the group recorded turnover of £82.6 million.

The combined group plans to offer a more extensive and comprehensive range of services including: 

  • The delivery of complex certification and testing programmes; 
  • The testing of vehicles and tyres in hot and cold climates; 
  • Designing and delivering bespoke customer solutions;
  • Working with global brand partners to develop the connected electric vehicles of the future. 
  • A broad international reach will be combined with deep, local understanding of clients’ operational environments and key technologies.

UTAC CERAM operates the only official Euro NCAP test centre in France. The group has forged a unique position in Europe through its ISO 17025 accredited test labs. 

The new group will be headed by Laurent Benoit, current president of UTAC CERAM. He said the group will use its considerable internal resources, international network and the support of its shareholders, especially its majority shareholder Eurazeo, to pursue a strategy of innovation and to consolidate its markets in Europe and the world.

“The arrival of Eurazeo as a shareholder, and FCDE’s support, opened the door for our group to access additional resources to improve the pace of growth around the world,” Mr Benoit added.

“The alliance with Millbrook represents a fantastic opportunity for our teams and a decisive step that allows us to continue supporting manufacturers and equipment suppliers along their industrial, societal and technological journey, as we have done with passion and pride since 1945.”

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