Midlands-based Lloyds British Testing has been taken private in a deal approaching £4 million.

Previously listed on AIM, LBT is one of the leaders in the UK for lifting equipment engineering and maintenance.

The Sutton Coldfield company's divisions include site services, repairs and maintenance, lift equipment repairs and maintenance, lift gear equipment sales, training services and supplying lifts.

The management team includes chief executive Ian White, aged 44, Hayden Davis, aged 53, finance director, and Trevor Dale, aged 63, managing director.

The deal was backed by a funding package provided by Bank of Ireland and Enterprise Finance Europe. LBT customers include Corus, Thames Water, Forth Ports and National Grid. Employing more than 300 staff in ten locations across the UK, including West Bromwich, it has a £17 million turnover.

The business can trace its origins back to 1812 when it was set up to test the strength of wrought iron chain used for securing ships anchors on behalf of the Admiralty.

Mr White said: "The last 12 months have been very exciting with the business continuing to grow at a rate of more than 18 per cent per annum.

"Now we have completed the privatisation process, and with the knowledge of strong financial support from BOI and EFE, we can focus on our ambitious expansion plans both for the UK and overseas."

The business was owned by Kone Cranes of Finland up until 1999 when Mr White led a successful management buyout with the backing of Lloyds Development Capital.

LDC left 2001 as LBT floated on AIM with a £6m market cap. In 2004 LBT made two acquisitions - material handling business Somers and crane maintenance operation Rumney. LBT disposed of its non-core hire division to

Speedy Hire in February 2005, followed by its powered access division in July.

Andrew Whelan, head of Midlands with Bank of Ireland, said the public to private deal had seen BOI provide initially a bridging facility and an on-going mezzanine line, whilst EFE had come up with acquisition and ongoing working capital facilities. "Lloyds British Testing is now the leader in the UK market which puts it in a prime position to capitalise on its expansion plans," said Mr Whelan.

EFE director Peadar O'Reilly added: "The combination of reconstituting itself as a limited company, not being in the full glare of the Stock Market and the flexibility of ongoing funding will enable Lloyds British Testing to go from strength to strength."

KPMG (Steve Halbert) advised LBT with Gateley Wareing (Andrew Madden) providing legal advice. Bank of Ireland and Enterprise Finance Europe were advised by DLA (Brian Woolcock and Stephen Bottley).