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Beringea UK sells stake in Chess Technologies Group in Cohort acquisition

Cohort plc has acquired Chess to expand its range of specialist services and products for defence and security

Beringea, the transatlantic venture capital investor, has sold its stake in Chess Technologies Group (Chess), a leading supplier of electro-optical and electro-mechanical defence technologies. Cohort plc, the AIM-listed defence technology group, has acquired Chess to expand its range of specialist services and products for defence and security.

Chess designs and manufactures electro-optical and electro-mechanical systems for radar, security, communication, and surveillance. These systems are tailored for use by military, naval and civil security and defence contractors.

Along with two partners, Chess has also developed the Anti-UAV Defence System, a specialist counter-drone technology designed to disrupt and neutralise unmanned aerial vehicles. This system was granted TRL-9 status – for use in battlefield situations – in January 2017.

Beringea first invested in Chess in 2008 to accelerate its growth as a leading supplier of specialist defence and security technologies. Over the past decade, Beringea has invested £2.6m to support Chess as it has scaled in the UK and internationally, developing an extensive range of proprietary technologies that constitute an integral part of defence and security systems globally.

The business has been led by Graham Beall since its foundation in 1993. Under his leadership, it has scaled to become a significant subsystem supplier to the defence industry, designing and developing a number of key technology products that today provide sophisticated electro-optical positioners that form a cornerstone of integrated defence and security systems.

Cohort has acquired Chess to strengthen the specialist technologies provided by the group through its British and European defence companies, which include EID, MASS, MCL and SEA. The business will now operate as a subsidiary to the Cohort parent company, retaining its independent and innovative approach to defence and security technology.

This transaction marks the fourth successful sale by Beringea to a leading strategic investor in the past six months. The successful sales of Watchfinder to Richemont and Chargemaster to BP were recently followed by the acquisition of TH_NK by EPAM Systems, a global software company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

“Chess has consistently demonstrated its ability to develop pioneering technologies for a global market of defence and security systems,” commented Stuart Veale, Managing Partner of Beringea. “The acquisition by Cohort is recognition of the growth and innovation that Chess has delivered throughout its entrepreneurial journey.”

Graham Beall, CEO of Chess Dynamics, commented: “This is a significant step towards the future growth plans for the Chess Group incorporating Chess Dynamics Ltd and Vision4ce Ltd. Bringing new and exciting innovative capabilities to our military and security customers.”

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