Investors want to back ‘proper firms’

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Leading investors have told Sheffield region firms they want to work with “proper” companies, instead of putting money into the services sector.

Speaking at an investment seminar, run by leading law firm Nabarro, during the Global Manufacturing Festival: Sheffield, the investors from a range of financial institutions, pledged that funds are available for manufacturers who want to grow.

Garry Wilson from Endless, which funded the buyout that saved DavyMarkham, spoke of his ‘passion’ for manufacturing and said he had worked with many local companies.

“DavyMarkham was a good deal for all the stakeholders, for us as investors and for the management team and now the DavyMarkham site has 15 companies trading from it - a fantastic example of what can be achieved,” said Mr Wilson.

Investec’s Ed Cottrell said that the shift away from basic debt finance as a form of raising capital will mean that “the challenge for industry will be to innovate, to match the types of finance to the risks within the business and within their sector.”

NBGI Private Equity founder, Mark Owen, told the audience: “We don’t take control of the company in which we invest, we simply control our own investment and have performance-related protections in place.”

James Benfield of Baird Capital Partners Europe declared himself a fan of UK manufacturing but said the challenge is for manufacturing “to be much more international in its outlook.”

Nabarro partner Andrea Cropley said: “It is obvious investors and funders have a real appetite for manufacturing and they have the expertise to help manufacturers who show genuine ambition to expand their businesses.

“Company directors who attended the seminar will have left with no doubt that, if they are prepared to show ambition and have the skills to take their company forward, funding is available.”