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Tyneside ed-tech firm eQS snaps up Devon firm Amano Technologies

A South Tyneside education specialist has made its first acquisition, two weeks after completing a management buyout and £20m investment deal.

Hebburn-based eQuality Solutions (eQS) has snapped up Amano Technologies, based in Devon, in moves it says put the company on track to achieve its turnover target of £20m by 2023.

The education technology specialist for inclusivity and mental wellbeing said it acquired Amano Technologies, in West Devon Business Park, Tavistock, to expand its geographic reach and to add capabilities in the education and workplace support market.

The acquisition marks eQS’s first step in an ambitious ‘buy and build’ strategy, supported with the £20m funding from London-based Shard Credit Partners, and aimed at expanding its specialist technology and service offering.

Amano’s 10 Devon-based staff and 160 consultants based across the South West will join eQS’ 120-strong team.

eQS provides assistive technology equipment, training and software that help to remove barriers to learning, and following the acquisition of Amano, it also provides learning support services known as non-medical help (NMH).

Amano’s services cover a range of one-to-one learning support services, designed to help study skills tutors, mental health mentors and British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters.

eQS CEO Andy Gough said: “Amano has an outstanding reputation for providing high quality services that improve people’s chances at life and the genuine care of its staff and company culture in maintaining these quality standards, reflects how we work at eQS. The undeniable synergy between our companies made this feel like a natural fit for both companies.

“We plan to double the Amano contribution to the eQS group over the next two years by investing heavily in marketing and utilising our existing sales channels.

“Our aim long-term is to build a national presence offering innovative, high-quality, specialist services, all led from our North East base.”

Amano cofounders Graham Coiley and Paul Wood launched the business 10 years ago and, having been approached by eQS, made the decision to sell the business earlier than planned.

Mr Coiley said: “The inclusion of Amano into the eQS family will give Amano much greater scope for growth in the future.

“We know the eQS team well, they are a professional company who share our approach to student support, particularly around quality and innovation.

“We are very proud that eQS plans to preserve and enhance the Amano reputation, continuing to use our fantastic systems and understanding the value of our committed consultants. We are excited to follow the future of Amano as its specialist support reaches even more people across the UK.”

Advising eQS on the acquisition was Newcastle-based RG Corporate Finance (RGCF), while legal advice was provided by Ward Hadaway.

RGCF partner and head of corporate finance Carl Swansbury said: “The acquisition of Amano is the first step in the fast-track growth plans eQS has set for the next three years.

“The team at RGCF will be actively identifying further acquisition opportunities, particularly of businesses that provide specialist disability and mental wellbeing services to the private sector and have their own proprietary software that can add value to eQS’ capabilities. We look forward to helping the eQS management team scale the business over the coming months.”