North East Connected

Award-winning chemicals firm secures an £860k investment

A Tees Valley business which has developed a multi-award winning chemicals technology has secured an £860,000 investment, which includes £750,000 from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia Fund Managers and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.  The additional investment is fromUK Steel Enterprise (UKSE).

Micropore Technologies’ innovation allows manufacturers to create more stable emulsions and, in many cases, eliminate waste. It has wide-ranging applications in sectors from  pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals to personal care and household products, inks and agrochemicals, food and drink and even rocket fuel. The novel membrane technology can create droplets of exactly the right size and disperse them evenly within emulsions at any scale from initial laboratory investigation to full-scale, multi-tonne manufacturing.

The innovative technology can be used to make low-fat and reduced sugar confectionery by dispersing water-based ingredients in fatty foods like chocolate, to create particles for the controlled release of cancer drugs, or to deliver nutrients whilst masking unpleasant tastes.

Established as a spin-out of Loughborough University, Micropore is now based in Redcar with a US sales office in Raleigh, North Carolina. Following a period of successful product development, the company is now attracting orders from customers worldwide. The investment will allow it to expand its local manufacturing facility and its business development team. The latest funding round brings the total raised by the company to c£1.5m.

Dai Hayward, CEO of Micropore, said: “After years of patient technology and product development Micropore has proved its products and markets and is ready for rapid growth. New investment from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, together with continuing investment by UKSE provide the vehicle  to achieve those global growth ambitions.”

Simon Crabtree, Investment Manager at Mercia, said: “We think Micropore’s technology is a fine example of British engineering and that it provides an effective and scaleable solution for its target customers. This funding will allow the company  to expand its reach into new geographical areas and new market sectors.”

Sarah Thorpe, Area Manager for UK Steel Enterprise, the business-support subsidiary of Tata Steel, said: “We are pleased to be continuing our support for Micropore Technologies with a third investment.  Micropore is an innovative company with a highly experienced management team and, since our first investment in 2016, we have seen the company successfully take its leading-edge technology from laboratory to full scale manufacture.” 

Ben Houchen, Tees Valley Mayor, said: “The Tees Valley is a centre of excellence for the UK chemical industry with 60 percent of the chemicals produced in the UK made or processed here in Teesside. Micropore Technologies’ breakthrough is testament to the ingenuity and innovative thinking that you find in so many businesses in our region.

“In the last 18 months NPIF has invested over £8million in 27 companies based in the Tees Valley, supporting their growth and expansion and the creation of good quality, well paid jobs for local people.

“The investment secured by Dai and his team is well deserved and I look forward to seeing the company go from strength to strength.”

Mark Wilcockson, Senior Manager at British Business Bank, said: “We are pleased that NPIF continues to support high-growth businesses in the Tees Valley, providing vital funding to enable job creation and expansion into new markets. This investment demonstrates how this funding can make a real and measurable difference to businesses across the Northern Powerhouse region, which helps create a more prosperous regional economy.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

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