Comms Design acquired by Unipart

Comms Design has been working on RETB signalling systems since 2005.

Harrogate-based Comms Design, which designs and manufactures electronic products, primarily for rail industry, has been acquired by the Unipart Group.

The Depot Test Unit,
a Comms Design product

Comms Design has a proven track record for innovation and delivery. Its flexible approach means it can help customers identify a system design that meets their needs and quickly produce solutions that are both efficient and effective.

As an example of its capabilities, its team designed and manufactured 12 brand new products in a 24-month period to support the RETB Next Generation project. Comms Design has been involved in the RETB (Radio Electronic Token Block) signalling system since 2005 and has extensive expertise in this area. Its modern RETB equipment updates, installed in 2016, is a proven low-cost signalling concept and features the latest web-based systems for remote condition monitoring.

Comms Design complements the Unipart Rail product and service portfolio and will strengthen its growing reputation for innovation and service. As a result of the acquisition, both businesses will be able to access new markets and continue to develop and expand product ranges in the UK and overseas.

Paul Clark, Comms Design.

Paul Clark will remain as managing director, reporting to Unipart Technology Group’s managing director for technology companies, David McGorman.  

The cultural fit between the two companies was an important factor in the acquisition, according to Paul Clark. “It was extremely important that we found a parent company with the same passion for the market and industry that is an important part of the Comms Design culture and brand,” he said.

“Unipart Rail, the rail division of Unipart Group, has a very strong reputation for service and quality amongst rail companies in the UK and internationally. The new relationship as part of Unipart Group provides Comms Design with access to a wide range of skills and opportunities within the rail industry and beyond.”

John Neill, Unipart.

Unipart chairman and group chief executive John Neill said the acquisition of Comms Design was a welcome new addition to Unipart’s portfolio of innovative, entrepreneurial, digital investments.

“We are all delighted to welcome Comms Design into our growing portfolio of digital businesses, products and capabilities,” he said. “It is another important step in continuing Unipart’s digital transformation.

“Unipart has a strong track record of developing small, entrepreneurial companies by providing the help and support to enable them to grow without the constraining corporate procedures of many large organisations that can be seen as stifling, particularly to digital companies.

“The acquisition of Comms Design Ltd provides us with impressive technical skills, products and services for the rail industry which complement our Unipart Rail offering from our other businesses such as Park Signalling and Instrumentel. We expect Comms Design Ltd to play a strong role in meeting the needs of current and future customers as an increasing number of companies accelerate their plans to implement digital products and solutions.”

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