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Life science founder net worth tops £120m after private equity swoop

 (PA) (PA Archive)
(PA) (PA Archive)

The founder of a British life sciences business has seen his net worth soar past £120 million after the firm became the latest London-listed business to be taken private. Miroslav Reljanović, 64, a neurologist from Zagreb, Croatia who founded Ergomed in 1997 and controls an 18% stake in the business, is set to cash in on his following a takeover offer by private equity firm Permira which values it at £703 million.

The offer of £13.51 per share represents a 28.3% premium over Guildford based Ergomed’s share price as at Friday’s market close in the latest sign companies listed on the London Stock Exchange are exiting the capital’s public markets in search of higher valuations elsewhere.

It follows an earlier £4.5 billion deal struck by veterinary pharmaceuticals business Dechra to be taken private by investment firm EQT at a roughly 40% premium over its previous share price.


Reljanović said: “We believe the acquisition by the Permira Funds now represents an excellent opportunity for Ergomed shareholders to realise value at a highly attractive valuation.

“Private ownership by funds advised by Permira… will allow us to build on the foundations we have created. It also brings with it opportunities to access their operational expertise, global network and capital.”

Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: ‘’Yet another firm is heading for an exit from the UK stock market to seek pastures new in the world of private equity.

“Ergomed is clearly hoping the financial clout of Permira will enable it to access the funding streams necessary to achieve that expansion.“The reticence of investors towards the UK market is likely to have been part of the equation. For the last few months shares had been languishing more than a third below the firm’s highs achieved back in November 2021, before this offer was tabled.’’

Surrey-based Ergomed operates clinical research and clinical trial services for the pharma industry. It was listed on the AIM exchange in 2014 when it was valued at just £46 million, and has since completed a string of overseas acquisitions including Texas-based research business MedSource in a $25 million deal in 2020.

The firm specialises in research for rare diseases for which there are relatively few patients available to conduct clinical trials. The firm reported revenue of £76.7 in the first half of 2023, up 10% on the previous year, with an order book of £310 million, an increase of 9%.

London-based Permira, a private equity firm which was spun off from asset management giant Schroders in the late 1990s, has more than £60 billion in assets under management and is controlled via an opaque ownership structure in Guernsey.

The firm, which has more than 470 employees, specialises in healthcare and technology and has invested in a string of other life sciences firms including Althea, Cambrex and Creganna.

An earlier version of this story suggested Mr Reljanović would receive a £120 million payout as part of the deal. An Ergomed spokesperson has since told the Standard a portion of Reljanović’s proceeds from the transaction would be rolled over into securities in a new entity, Eden Topco.