£150k funding helps engineering firm take next step to growth

A Doncaster engineering firm which made the steel walkways for the sports complex in the 2012 Olympics has secured a £150,000 loan from NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance, which is managed by Mercia Fund Managers and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

Universal Coatings will use the money to fulfil new contract wins and expects to create an additional seven jobs as a result. The company provides coatings for everything from swimming pools to steel structures and also offers a complete fabrication service. In addition to supplying fixtures for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and other events, it has built many canal bridges and specialises in conservation work such as the restoration of statues and structures at heritage sites.

Universal Coatings was founded in 2007 by two schoolfriends – Phil Bingham who had a background in the industry, and Phil Pantry who had worked in agriculture. The company now employs around 18 people.

Phil Bingham said: “Universal Coatings works on projects around the country. Structures are fabricated in our Doncaster workshop and we then send a team to the site to install them. However we need access to finance to fund projects of this type and the bigger the jobs, the greater the sum required. The funding package from NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance was ideal for our needs.”

Peter Sorsby, Investment Manager with Mercia Fund Managers, said: “In the space of just over a decade, the Universal Coatings team have built a strong track for their expertise and reliability and are now a supplier of choice for many government and heritage bodies. This funding will support them as they deliver their next round of contracts and continue to grow the business.”

Andy McKenna, an Access to Finance Advisor for the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub who helped Universal Coatings obtain the funding, said: “The Sheffield City Region Growth Hub is delighted to have helped this growing regional business identify and access the financial support it needed from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, which is really starting to make an impact in the SCR. Universal Coatings have made great strides in recent years but like many growing businesses needs organisations like Mercia Technologies to provide the capital needed to enable growth.”

Mark Wilcockson, Senior Relationship Manager at British Business Bank, said: “Universal Coatings has developed an excellent reputation, having worked on a number of key projects in the past. The funding provided by NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance will support the ongoing growth of the business as it looks to invest in its staff and secure several new lucrative contracts. We look forward to seeing the business develop in the coming years.”

Andy Stokoe of Smith Craven Chartered Accountants provided fundraising advice to the company.

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.