A North East trade signage and metal fabrication supplier is investing in new equipment, personnel and factory space after winning a £150,000 investment from the North East Growth Capital Fund Supported by the European Regional Development Fund

UK Metalcraft designs, fabricates and builds the high quality signage used by trade companies for a wide range of High Street and household name brands right across the UK and currently has an annual turnover of around £1m, a figure it is looking to increase by 25% by the end of the year.

Having worked with NEL Fund Managers to bring in the Growth Capital Fund investment, UK Metalcraft has now begun creating an additional 1,000 sq ft mezzanine floor at its Team Valley premises to increase its production capacity.

It is also investing in new equipment, including a digital printer and two new vehicles, and is also setting up its own installation team to offer additional services to trade customers.

Up to five new jobs will be created as part of the firm’s growth strategy, which will take its workforce up to 27, and it has already brought in a new business development manager to help further increase its client base.

UK Metalcraft provides signs of every type to the trade, including fascia signs, stand-alone totems, modular signs, built-up and flat cut lettering and edge-lit signs.

It also provides bespoke metal fabrication services for clients in its own and other industries, an income stream it is also now looking to grow.

Director Darren Johnstone, who set up UK Metalcraft in 2014 with business partner David Thompson, says: “We’ve managed to double the company’s turnover in each of its first four years and needed more space, equipment and people to help take us on through the next stage of our development.

“Our work is on show all over the UK and we’re able to provide a comprehensive service to the trade that goes from the initial design stage right through to manufacture and installation.

“The modifications we’ve made in the factory, the equipment we’re bringing in and the jobs we’re creating will all go towards improving the way in which we work and will help us continue to make significant year-on-year progress.

“NEL were recommended to us by Richard Tait at Inspire Financial Management and the investment application process gave us a very useful opportunity to work with their team on further refining and improving our business plan.”

Jane Siddle, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “UK Metalcraft is acknowledged as a leader in its field and the ambition that the management team is showing in its growth potential presented us with a strong investment opportunity.”

The North East Growth Capital Fund has been designed to create around 790 jobs in more than 70 regional firms over the life of the programme and offers unsecured investments of up to £500,000 to established businesses looking to realise their growth potential.

NEL Fund Managers is actively looking for potential investees from Tyne & Wear, Durham and Northumberland to put their investment ideas forward.

The overarching £120m North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 3,500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80m for further investment into the region.

For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, visit www.nel.co.uk or contact the investment team on 0345 369 7007.