By Andy Hirst

A pioneering Huddersfield company is expanding by acquiring another business to boost its development and production of environmentally-friendly cleaning products.

Skelmanthorpe-based BioBax has taken over Cheshire company Aqua Air which brings innovative cleaning products to the market.

It means BioBax will now be able to manufacture more products on its site at Skelmanthorpe Technology Park. The company already produces a diverse range of environmentally friendly products including sustainably sourced paper straws, hand sanitisers and cutting-edge cleaning products for the education, care and hospitality sectors.

Microbiological cleaners harness friendly bacteria to break down organic matter quickly and efficiently.

The acquisition will help BioBax get into new markets while increasing profitability in Aqua Air’s product range by bringing manufacturing in-house.

The move has created four new jobs and the aim is to increase turnover to £2m within the next three years.

Aqua Air Ltd was founded in 1994 by Barry Bladon. The Knutsford company pioneered the Xtra range of cleaning solutions to provide bleach-free cleaning alternatives and Barry has been looking to find the right partner to take Aqua Air to the next level.

BioBax was founded by Dominic Barnes and Kate Pawson in 2019 after years of experience working in the commercial hygiene sector. Dominic pioneered Zybax, one of the UK’s first microbiological cleaners.

From L-R: Harry Bushell, corporate finance executive, Hentons Corporate Finance; Kate Pawson, sales & marketing director, Biobax; Jeremy Meadowcroft, business lending manager, Finance For Enterprise; and Dominic Barnes, managing director, Biobax.

Dominic said: “Microbiological cleaners offer a safe alternative to traditional cleaning products that can be used in high-risk environments such as schools and care homes. Barry has devoted much of his life to developing innovative cleaning solutions and bringing them to market. It’s an ethos we share.

“Acquiring Aqua Air is a golden opportunity for BioBax, one which will present new opportunities for both businesses as well as safeguarding the manufacture of its products in the UK.”

The move was funded with a £150,000 loan from Doncaster-based lender Finance For Enterprise which specialises in helping small and medium enterprises overcome barriers preventing them from growing.

The company acts as fund manager for the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and is an accredited partner for the Recovery Loan Scheme and Start Up Loans UK. The Recovery Loan Scheme was specifically developed to help businesses impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic to adapt and respond to the challenges they faced. The Biobax deal was done through this scheme.

Jeremy Meadowcroft, business lending manager at Finance For Enterprise, said: “BioBax is a great example of a British manufacturing company that’s challenging industry norms and bringing some truly innovative products to market.”