Loan helps historic engineers keep growth on track

A historic Sheffield business which makes suspension parts for trucks worldwide is continuing its expansion with the help of a £300,000 loan from NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance, which is managed by Mercia and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

The loan will provide Tinsley Bridge with a contingency fund to safeguard the business against any shocks arising from the Brexit process, whilst allowing it to pursue its longer-term growth strategy.

One of Sheffield’s largest manufacturers, Tinsley Bridge employs around 200 people in three separate divisions and its origins date back almost 200 years. The company invented the parabolic tapered leaf spring used in over 80% of truck suspensions worldwide, and it continues to supply suspension stabiliser bars for all Volvo, Renault and Iveco trucks.

It also has a blades division, Tyzack Machine Knives, that produces product for the steel and scrap industry, and a fabrication arm that makes structures for energy, transport and infrastructure projects, including the powered hinges on the roof of the Wimbledon number 1 court and the stainless steel dampers used to quieten the noise of trains on the Crossrail project.

Mark Webber, who has been Managing Director of Tinsley Bridge since 2002, said: “We are following a growth plan to increase turnover by 25% over the next few years and already have investment in place to support that. However amidst the recent uncertainty, it became clear that we needed contingency funds to protect the business from unexpected shocks, for example to cover the need for increased working capital for stock in the event of a no-deal Brexit or, in the opposite scenario, a period of reduced sales while customers released the stockpiles they had built up.

“Mercia quickly understood our issues and formulated a plan that would give us appropriate funding to secure the business through a potentially turbulent period while allowing us to press on with our longer-term growth plans.”

Pete Sorsby, Investment Manager with Mercia, said: “Tinsley Bridge is a historic Sheffield business with a strong management team, skilled workforce and a global customer base. The company is taking positive steps to deliver its future success. The funding will provide a valuable safety net for the business while allowing it to press ahead with its growth plans without interruption.”

Mark Wilcockson, Senior Manager at the British Business Bank, said: “NPIF continues to provide vital funding to Northern businesses across the region. We are pleased to continue this support, and are proud to work in partnership with Mercia and our other appointed fund managers to make a real impact on business communities, creating jobs and strengthening regional economies to unlock the North’s potential.”

Karl Hodson of BTG Advisory provided fundraising advice to the business.

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.