CLEVELAND Cascades, the global leader business in design and manufacture of bespoke dry bulk loading chutes, has been sold to Swedish group, Lifco, for an undisclosed amount.

Cleveland Cascades was set up in 2004 by Ian Barnard. Based at Teesside Industrial Estate in Stockton, the family-owned company has hundreds of systems, working in bulk handling facilities worldwide.

Its cascade technology largely eliminates dust pollution and is used in ship and silo loading chutes.

Last year Cleveland Cascades were involved with projects globally across 10 different countries including, Canada, Nigeria, and the USA.

The business employs around 30 staff and all the team will be retained.

Mr Barnard will exit the business and retire while his son, Mathew Barnard will remain with the business as Commercial Director, alongside Managing Director, Sally Buckworth.

Cleveland Cascades has developed a worldwide reputation for quality, well-engineered, robust, high performance chutes, backed up by excellent customer service.

This excellence has been recognised by a series of prestigious awards, including three Queen's awards for Export, International Trade and Environmental Achievement and the Engineering Council Environment Award.

Lifco is a business group, based in Sweden, which has a total turnover of SEK 13.8 billion and employs about 5,400 people.

Lifco’s business concept is to acquire and develop market-leading niche businesses with the potential to deliver sustainable earnings growth and robust cash flows.

Azets, the UK’s leading advisor to SMEs, provided corporate finance and tax advice to Cleveland Cascades, led by Graham Cornforth, Corporate Finance Partner and supported by Matt Waters while Tom Pollard, Partner, from Ward Hadaway in Newcastle, provided legal advice to the vendor.

Mr Pollard was supported by Liam Stubbs and Jamie Guy.

Mr Barnard said: “We’re looking forward to joining the Lifco family as we embark on the next stage of our exciting journey. As a family business, our values are very strong and we wanted to sell to a firm with a similar ethos to us, which is what attracted us to Lifco.

"We have received terrific support from Graham and the team at Azets,who helped us navigate and negotiate the transaction. We appreciate the dedication of the team in managing a smooth process throughout and delivering a successful transaction.”

Mr Cornforth, said: “We were delighted to advise Ian and Mathew Barnard on their sale to Lifco. We’ve worked with them since 2019 on their exit strategy and it’s great to see the success of their company being recognised.

"From introducing Lifco, this deal completed very quickly but required massive effort from all parties to get it done in the timescales desired. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Brexit and the uncertain economic outlook, this deal proves that attractive, well managed businesses will always be in demand. It’s credit to the resilience and enterprise of the North East business community that our teams remain so active.”