Millbrook’s Test World acquisition followed ‘strategic collaboration’
The formal agreement to acquire Test World was preceded by the establishment of a “strategic collaboration” between Millbrook and the Finnish facility in June 2015. The collaboration was announced at Automotive Testing Expo Europe 2015, in Stuttgart which ran from 16 – 18 June. There the growing partnership between the two companies could be seen in their adjoining exhibition stands designed to demonstrate the range of facilities and services the two businesses can offer.
Back then, Millbrook said that the association aimed to support “mutual business development and representation in the UK and Finland and identify and engage in joint projects that use a combination of both test facilities, leveraging Millbrook’s expertise in test and engineering and Test World’s winter tyre testing expertise”.
Alex Burns explained that the relationship enabled the company “to engage in joint projects with Test World and expand Millbrook’s diverse and comprehensive portfolio, while complementing our existing UK proving ground and test capabilities. We are looking forward to working with Test World’s excellent customer base and sharing our engineering expertise to enhance the services and facilities provided to all of our customers, both in the UK and internationally.”
At the time Harri Eskelinen, director at Test World commented: “This is a very exciting opportunity for everyone at Test World, which will enable us to offer an all-inclusive test, validation and engineering service to the worldwide automotive industry.” In retrospect one wonders the extent to which the executives were aware of just how much of an “exciting opportunity” the collaboration was to become.
Looking more broadly, it has been a significant time of change for UK test centres, only weeks earlier in July 2015 the Tokyo-listed Horiba Group acquired MIRA Ltd’s entire business operations for approximately £83.1 million. At the time, Horiba stated it purchased the UK-based company in order to expand its vehicle development and testing business, and to further the development of next-generation mobility solutions, such as autonomous vehicles. A new firm, HRA International Ltd., was established in the UK on 5 June 2015; this took over MIRA’s assets on 14 July 2015 and commenced operations as Horiba MIRA Ltd.
However, with the Millbrook/Test World combination arguably taking a step closer to the tyre development segment and Horiba MIRA setting its sights on driverless technologies and other next generation mobility solutions, could this signal a change in the centre of gravity for tyre testing in the UK?