Imperial College London

Sale of Imperial College London spinout, Permasense Limited



Imperial Innovations announced the sale of Permasense, a spinout from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London.

Based on the work of Professor Peter Cawley and Dr Fred Cegla in the Non-Destructive Evaluation research group, Permasense is the world leader in the field of continuous integrity monitoring for the oil & gas production, refining and power industries, providing real-time data-to-desk measurement of fixed equipment wall thicknesses in inhospitable and inaccessible environments.

The company's non-intrusive integrity monitoring systems use proprietary sensor technology and wireless data delivery to continuously monitor pipes for metal loss from corrosion or erosion, and reliably deliver high integrity data even in the most difficult environments. Permasense's systems therefore help to minimise the risk of unplanned outage and improve safety by reducing inspection personnel exposure to hazards such as high temperature metalwork, or in elevated or offshore locations.

Permasense was acquired by Emerson Electric, an American Fortune 500 company. An initial consideration of £30.6 million was paid in cash on completion, with a further £10m deferred subject to the performance of the Permasense business during the next 13 months.

Imperial Innovations owned a 23.0% stake in Permasense at the time of the sale and as a result received net proceeds of £3.7 million from the transaction. The sale has also returned an equal payment of £3.7 million to Imperial as a result of the revenue sharing agreement between Innovations and the College.

The company was co-founded by Imperial Innovations in 2008, following work undertaken by the inventors within the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Initial work was carried out as a result of funding from a major industry partner, and this led to rapid deployment and testing of the technology in an industry setting. Permasense generated revenues from day one and was fully self-financing. At the time of its sale, Permasense technology was deployed on oil refineries around the world, and a recent report (Frost & Sullivan July 2016) suggested it would become the global market leader for corrosion monitoring within the next decade.


Nadia Barbu

Nadia Barbu
Department of Mechanical Engineering