BSI acquires Rocky Mountain gold-testing firm


April 30, 1999

The British Standards Institution (BSI), known worldwide for its Kitemark of product excellence and as a global leader in setting quality, safety and service standards for industry and commerce, has acquired one of America's leading companies for testing precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum and palladium.

Rocky Mountain Geochemical, a 30-year old company originating in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, has been acquired by BSI as part of its international expansion strategy aimed at making it the preferred supplier of quality and inspection services to the world's leading businesses.

News of this latest acquisition coincided with the publication of BSI's annual report for the year ended 31 December 1998 which discloses that BSI has acquired the CEEM Inc. training and publishing company in the USA and ACSA Loss Control, which operates in the car inspection business in Argentina and Brazil, for a combined consideration of £5.2million.

In April 1998, BSI acquired Inspectorate PLC, a leading international inspection and testing company for £36.5 million which means that the new-look BSI group of companies now has a physical presence in over 90 countries around the world.

Based in Reno, Rocky Mountain Geochemical analyses samples from potential gold and silver mining sites in Nevada, California, Colorado and Utah. Geologists use the company's test reports to plan exploration and drilling projects and to determine the viability of precious metals for mining development. It will be offering a greatly improved service - which is expected to produce significantly improved profitability.

The purchase of Rocky Mountain Geochemical is the fourth acquisition to be made following last year's changes in BSI's Royal Charter, designed to give it greater operating flexibility. This has resulted in some 23 per cent (£27.9 million) of BSI's business now being in the USA and 46 per cent (£57.1 million) in the UK, compared with 68 per cent (£61.4 million) in the UK in the 12 months to 31 March 1998.

The BSI annual report discloses that turnover increased from £89.9 million in the 12 months to March 1998 to £123.9 million in the following nine months to December 1998. Pre-tax profit for the comparative period rose from £6.6 million to £8.3 million.

BSI Chairman Vivian Thomas says that the group's healthy results came from both organic growth and the impact from acquisitions. "The vast majority of current and projected growth is likely to take place outside the UK and this has influenced our strategic planning assumptions," says Mr Thomas.

"The service and expertise we aim to provide throughout the world gives the increasing number of companies associated with BSI a competitive advantage in the promotion of their products and services. Our strength lies in the value we bring in adding quality, innovation and performance to their integrity", he adds.

Chief Executive Keith Tozzi says in the annual report that in the coming months BSI will open new offices in 15 countries around the world - the first five in France, Spain, Poland, South Africa and South Korea are already open.

BSI has led the way in developing the world's first integrated management system assessment (IMSA) linking together quality, environmental and health and safety systems. Among the first overseas IMSA registrations to be awarded last year was Glaxo Wellcome's Egyptian manufacturing facility, the first pharmaceutical company outside the UK to be registered.

"We now have the structure, flexibility and the strategy to become the world's leading supplier of standards, quality management and environmental management systems assessment, testing and inspection services", says Mr Tozzi.

"In the coming year BSI's priority will be to maximise the relationship we have with our customers by better using our knowledge and understanding of their business needs", he adds.

Wilma Tulloch on +44 (0)20 8996 6330 OR
Marc Edney on +44 (0)20 8996 6330