A long-standing North East manufacturing firm is making plans to expand under new ownership after securing a six-figure investment from the North East Small Loan Fund Supported by The European Regional Development Fund.

Armarium Crown acquired family-owned Crown Doors & Shutters after founder Mike Mersh decided to retire, with Mike’s sons Andrew and Graeme, who have both worked for the business since it was set up in 2007, being promoted to managing director and contracts director respectively as part of the company’s evolution.

The Washington-based firm has now worked with regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers to secure a £100,000 investment to help it deliver more of its growth potential.

The capital will be used to support increases to marketing activity, production capacity and recruitment, with up to four new jobs expected to follow through the year as the company expands.

Based at a 6,500 sq ft manufacturing facility on the Bentall Business Park, Crown Doors & Shutters offers a comprehensive range of aluminium windows, curtain walling, shop fronts, security shutters, steel doors, fire screens, windows and doors.

It works with clients in a wide range of industry sectors right across the UK, as well as in Ireland, and has a skilled team of 25 people, all of whom have remained in post through the change of ownership.

Armarium Crown is continuing to look for further acquisition opportunities across the region as part of plans to build up a portfolio of North East firms

Director Ian Innerd says: “Crown Doors & Shutters is a well-established and respected firm in its sector with a stable and highly-skilled workforce and our aim is to build on the excellent work that Mike and his family have done over the last 14 years.

“Bringing in this investment means we can increase capacity and deliver on the company’s existing order book while also looking for new opportunities to bring in new business from right around the country.

“Andrew and Graeme have accrued a huge amount of knowledge about both the business and the industry over many years and we’re looking forward to working with them on the next stage of Crown’s development.

“Being able to access regionally-based growth capital for a regional investment was a big part of the appeal of NEL’s offering and the team quickly developed a clear understanding of both the business and our plans to realise more of its potential.”

Part of the £120m North East Fund and aimed predominantly at smaller SMEs, the £9m North East Small Loan Fund typically offers loans of between £10,000 and £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.

Jane Siddle, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “Crown Doors & Shutters is a highly-regarded North East business that offers very firm foundations on which its new owners can build its future growth.

“The Small Loan Fund offers accessible growth capital to growing small businesses and is flexible enough to meet the investment needs of SMEs of all types and size.”

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