• Wed. Dec 6th, 2023

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

Robert Hammal, managing director at Speedings Ltd, with Mike Guellard of NEL Fund ManagersRobert Hammal, managing director at Speedings Ltd, with Mike Guellard of NEL Fund Managers

One of the UK’s oldest family textile businesses is looking to the future with the help of a six-figure investment from the North East Small Loan Fund Supported by The European Regional Development Fund.

Speedings Ltd manufactures and supplies robust, innovative textile products for the emergency services and industrial clients including Nissan and Rolls Royce.

The Sunderland-based firm traces its roots back almost 200 years to a factory on the banks of the River Wear and is currently based in premises on the city’s Leechmere Industrial Estate.

Key products include colour-coded incident command jackets for fire and ambulance staff, to enable those in charge of emergency situations to be easily identified, and garments with in-built LED lighting which allows them to be seen in low visibility locations.

The Speedings management team has now worked with regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers to bring in a £100,000 investment, which will support the development of further products and the evolution of a new knowledge transfer partnership with Sunderland University.

A full e-commerce website is currently being developed, while the company will be increasing its presence at trade shows and putting more resources behind enhancing its own brand product range.

Speedings is now looking to increase its annual turnover by around 50 per cent over the next three years, with up to ten new jobs expected to be created during that period.

It already works with clients right across the UK, as well as in Ireland, Scandinavia, Australia and New Zealand, and is looking at opportunities in a number of other territories around the world.

Plans for investing in larger premises are also being considered for the medium term.

Robert Hammal, managing director at Speedings Ltd, says: “We have a very strong market position that’s based on the quality of the products we supply and an industry heritage that’s unmatched by any of our rivals.

“The new products we’re developing and the technologies that we’re deploying within them are giving customers the visibility and protection they need in very challenging emergency situations, and we’re continuing to innovate to make them even more effective.

“Putting additional resources into product development, full e-commerce capability and marketing will help us reach new customers, both at home and overseas, and will help us me the ambitious targets that we’ve set for ourselves.

“We found that the NEL team wanted to get to know us and the business in detail, and wanted to stay involved as we put our growth plans into action, which benefits us all round.”

Mike Guellard, senior investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “Speedings is combining an unrivalled industry heritage with a 21st century outlook to create products that its customers can rely on when they need them most.

“The management team outlined a clear and robust growth strategy that will take the business through the next stage of its development and we’re very pleased that we’re going to be part of it.”

Part of the £130m North East Fund and aimed predominantly at smaller SMEs, the £9m North East Small Loan Fund typically offers loans of up to £100,000 to businesses in Tyne & Wear, Durham and Northumberland.

It is designed to assist with the creation of over 1,200 new regional jobs in more than 320 SMEs over the life of the fund.

The overarching £130m North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 2,500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80m for further investment into the region.

NEL Fund Managers is also responsible for managing the £18m North East Growth Capital Fund, which offers unsecured investments of up to £500,000 to established businesses looking to realise their growth potential.

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