Investors seek ‘proper’ companies

Andrea Cropley, partner at Nabarro.
Andrea Cropley, partner at Nabarro.

A group of leading investors have told local business people that they are seeking out manufacturing companies in the Sheffield region because they want to work with ‘proper’ companies rather than just stay in the service sector.

They also made it clear that businesses can match the type of funds they need to suit their business and that those funds are available.

Nabarro’s investment seminar was held as part of the Global Manufacturing Festival: Sheffield and saw six leading private equity and investment houses answering questions about funding from manufacturers.

Nabarro partner Andrea Cropley said: “It is increasingly obvious that 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.

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

Garry Wilson from Endless LLP spoke of his ‘passion’ for manufacturing and said he had worked with many local companies, including DavyMarkham: “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.”

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.”

The event shed light on what investors are looking for in manufacturers: sound management and an ambition to grow.

Andrew Burton from Yorkshire Association of Business Angels said that he and other panellists at Nabarro’s investment seminar had a genuine interest in manufacturing and many of them had a background in manufacturing or engineering.

Steven Chait of Burdale, which invested heavily in Sheffield Forgemasters, gave an insight into his investment into Jaguar Land Rover where his company can fund not only the parts being manufactured but also the funds receivable.

Nabarro partners Andrea Cropley and Ben Hendry hosted the seminar and panel members included: Mark Owen of NBGI Private Equity, Ed Cottrell of Investec, Andrew Burton of Yorkshire Association of Business Angels, Steven Chait of Burdale Financial, Garry Wilson of Endless LLP and James Benfield of Baird Capital Partners Europe.