Medical equipment manufacturer Penlon has sold off a key division with scores of Oxfordshire staff switching employers.

The company, which occupies two sites in Barton Lane and Nuffield Way, Abingdon, has disposed of its medical gas business to engineering firm Atlas Copco for an undisclosed sum.

Marketing director Anne Macmillan said: “Employees of the division have transferred to Atlas Copco and all their jobs are safe.”

She added: “Under transitional arrangements they will contine to work at Penlon offices. It is possible they might in future move to another site — but that would also be in Abingdon.”

The division has now been re-named Penlon Medical Gas Solutions. It employs 45 people in Abingdon, 16 at its installation office in Salford, and 19 field staff.

A statement from Penlon which has year had an annual turnover of £12m and continues to employ 120 staff, said the sale was in line with the company’s strategy of focusing on its core business of anaesthesia and would help drive growth opportunities for the business, especially in international markets.

Chief executive Stephen Moon added: “As a global player in anaesthesia, this represents an important milestone for Penlon in our strategy to accelerate growth in our core business.

“The Penlon brand already has a strong heritage and we will look to further enhancing and strengthening our market position, underpinned by the talent and expertise of our global team”.

Penlon, which has won four Queens Awards, is the only independent UK-based manufacturer of anaesthesia systems.

It was established in 1943 by staff from the Department of Anaesthetics at Oxford University.

The anaesthesia business currently exports more than 60 per cent of its production worldwide.