Buy-out puts managers in driving seat at Diss F1 firm

A growing advanced engineering company has pledged its future to a south Norfolk town after completing a management buy-out from its American owner.

BF1 Systems, formerly known as Beru F1 Systems, was formed in Diss 18 years ago and designs and manufactures hi-tech compon-ents for the motorsport, automotive, aerospace, and marine industries.

The future of the firm has been secured after its management completed a buy-out of the business from US-based BorgWarner Beru Systems.

Managing director John Bailey, who has become the majority shareholder of BF1 Systems, said the deal had not dramatically changed the way the company worked, despite the change of name.

He added that the firm's American owners had expressed a desire to break away from its 'boutique' British brother and the buy-out had worked out for the best for both companies.

Mr Bailey said the opportunity to own the business was too good to pass up.

'We will carry on as we are and will continue to grow and we are looking at the public sector for electronics in the leisure markets,' he added.

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'Since I first started at the company 10 years ago, I would say we have doubled in size. We saw a drop in sales in 2009 as a result of the global markets, but we did not lose any money and we are back on the up and continue to grow in all market sectors.

'Most of our workforce is based in Diss and it would be foolish to move anywhere else.'

The firm, which employs 70 people at its base in Owen Road, Diss, develops high-performance electrical and measuring systems, including motorsport wiring harnesses and tyre pressure and temperature monitoring systems.

Over the years, the engineering company, which has an annual turnover of �6.5m, has become a trusted supplier to championship winning teams in Formula 1, Indy Car, World Rally Championships and NASCAR.

Mr Bailey added: 'We continue to grow our influence and market share with some of the leading names in industry and we have a clear strategic plan for where we want to take the company in the future.

'This will see us invest further in our products to deliver the state-of-the-art measuring systems that gives our customers a competitive edge in their fields.'

The buy-out was funded by NatWest. Steve Noon, business development director, said: 'BF1 Systems is a fine example of the highly specialised engineering industry we have in this country, and we are pleased to have supported John and his team in fulfilling their ambition of taking ownership of the business.'