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Foster + Freeman (“F+F”) is a market-leading manufacturer of premium forensic equipment, selling products directly and indirectly through distributors / agents across the world.


F+F was founded by Douglas Foster and Robert Freeman in 1978. It has since grown from building the original ESDA devices in Doug’s garage to a truly international company designing, manufacturing and shipping forensic instruments to more than 160 countries worldwide.  Customers include major police forces across the world, forensic science laboratories, government agencies and immigration authorities.  Bob Dartnell, the Managing Director, joined the business as an apprentice in 1980 and became Managing Director in 2000.  During the past 40 years the company has produced more than 100 original products, becoming a leading innovator within the fields of Questioned Document Examination, Fingerprint Detection and Enhancement, Crime Scene LED Light Equipment and Trace Evidence Analysis. Primary originally approached the business in 2016 but were told it was not for sale at that time.  Following the death of one of the founders, Bob was keen to pursue an MBO, and partnered with us to complete the transaction in August 2019. 

The Big Idea

F+F is viewed as a global market leader, and widely acknowledged as having the best quality forensic equipment in the market and being at the forefront of innovation and new product development.  The market dynamics are very attractive with ongoing technological investment in forensic sciences, rising crime rates, increasing importance being placed on border protection and wider acceptance of forensic evidence to help secure convictions. 

The Grand Plan

The new LFT Recover product, which can recover fingerprints from previously impossible surfaces such as fired bullet cartridges or bomb fragments, is a big growth driver for the business and there is also a pipeline of other new products scheduled for the next two years.  Whilst the business is already very international in outlook there are further opportunities for growth in many territories.


The Bottom Line

F+F is a market leading manufacturer in a global market niche, headed by a strong, longstanding management team. We intend to support the team to maintain this position and continue to grow the business in existing and new territories, investing in technical sales personnel and R&D capabilities to accelerate new product development

F+F logo

Investment Summary

Date of investment:  August 2019
Deal status:  Current

Company website:
For more information talk to:  Alistair Armstrong or Pete Lyons

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