The Royal Society of Chemistry is a major partner in a consortium chosen by the Department of Trade and Industry as the preferred buyer for the Laboratory of the Government Chemist.
Tom Inch, secretary-general of the RSC, said its involvement in the purchase of the LGC "represents a good investment for the society's funds". He said the Charity Commission had indicated it would look favourably upon the society's involvement. "It is a new and interesting development for the society and fits in nicely with the aims and objectives of its charter," he said.
The society will be an equal stakeholder alongside the other consortium partners, the investment firm 3i and LGC management and staff. The consortium is led by the Government Chemist, Richard Worswick. The DTI hopes that the final sale agreement will be concluded by early January 1996.
Dr Inch said that as a member of the consortium, the society will be keen to ensure that the quality of science at the LGC is maintained. The society aims to set up an advisory group of chartered chemists and will nominate a non-executive director on the LGC board.
"The nominee will act independently with regards to the business aspects of the LGC's operation. But we hope that when it comes to quality issues, the nominee will draw upon the views of the society. We believe there is no conflict between quality and profitability at the LGC," Dr Inch said.
He stressed the deal still has to be put to the society's council in December and that a "whole range of issues" relating to the LGC's operation have yet to be considered in detail. These include an examination of existing and future research work at the LGC.
The laboratory is based in Teddington and employs 290 staff.