Panoramic nets significant return on Cascade sale

Panoramic Growth Equity (“Panoramic”), a leading equity investor in fast growing, entrepreneurial companies, today announced that it has sold its stake in gas sensing instruments manufacturer, Cascade Technologies (“Cascade”) to Emerson. With a $40bn market cap, Emerson is a U.S.- headquartered global manufacturing and technology company with approximately 115,000 employees based at 220 manufacturing locations worldwide.

The sale has generated a strong return on investment for Panoramic in the three years since it invested £1.7m in May 2011. Panoramic was the largest shareholder in Cascade (35%) alongside other minority investors and led two funding rounds into the Company totalling £2.2m. Cascade was the largest investment held in Panoramic’s Enterprise Capital Fund 1.

Over the period of Panoramic’s investment and under the chairmanship of Tony Lochery, one of Panoramic’s advisory board members, Cascade has seen significant growth, with revenues having tripled in the business. In 2012, Cascade was listed as one of Britain’s 100 fastest growing private companies by The Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100.

The sale of Cascade is the second exit from Panoramic’s Enterprise Capital Fund I, following the successful sale of Solfex Energy Systems last year, which Panoramic sold to Travis Perkins PLC, netting an IRR of 120%. The two combined exits have enabled Panoramic to return all monies invested to date from the fund, which held its final close in September 2010 and was oversubscribed at £34m. There are seven remaining investments in the fund. The sale of Cascade represents an exciting milestone for Panoramic as it gears up to raise its second fund in 2015.

Stirling based, Cascade Technologies developed and patented the world’s first real-time technology for the detection, measurement and monitoring of gas emissions through its revolutionary use of quantum cascade lasers. It is used in a range of commercial applications such as the monitoring of gas emissions in power stations and process analytics in chemistry.   These proprietary systems have the capability to measure up to 20 different gases simultaneously, in real-time, at much higher speed and accuracy than any other product on the market.

Stephen Campbell, partner at Panoramic who sits on the board of Cascade commented: “This is an example of UK manufacturing at its best. We are very proud to have given this business the financial and operational support that it needed to achieve such impressive growth over the last three years, becoming a truly international player with market-leading products. This has been achieved off the back of hard work and dedication from the management team who have been extremely successful in staying ahead of the competition and who are highly respected in their field.

“This business has an exciting future with significant opportunity to further increase its international presence under its new ownership. We would like to wish the team and employees success for the future and thank them for their dedication and hard work during Panoramic’s period of ownership.

“The successful exit will act as a great launchpad for our second fund.”

Iain Howieson, CEO of Cascade Technologies said: “Panoramic’s investment in Cascade and their hands-on support has been invaluable in helping the company to grow to where it is now. Together, we have enhanced Cascade’s international profile and have significantly expanded our customer base, which in turn has enabled us to triple revenues in the last three years. The Panoramic team has in-depth experience of growing businesses and they have really helped us to renew the commercial focus of the business and attract high quality staff, ultimately winning the attention of a large multinational company. We very much look forward to the next chapter under the watch of our new owners, Emerson.”