A County Durham cable manufacturer is putting expansion plans into action with the help of a second investment from the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund after turning a threat to the company into an opportunity.
ATAG Cable Solutions designs, manufactures, tests and supplies a wide range of high quality, high performance reliable cables for all types of industries, with particular expertise in the electronics, oil and gas, marine and energy sectors.
In March last year, the Newton Aycliffe-based firm found itself facing a significant bad debt after a key customer in Cumbria went into administration, but it quickly moved to alter its business model by buying some of its customer’s assets and expanding its service offering to include cable assembly and temperature controls.
Key staff were also retained, and ATAG has since worked to successfully fulfil the customer’s existing contracts.
In order to now fulfil the potential for growth that the ATAG management team sees in the expanded business, it has now worked with regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers to bring in a second six figure Growth Fund investment, which it will use to help create up to eight new jobs.
ATAG initially worked with NEL in 2014, with the first investment used to support the company’s recruitment of skilled staff, development of new products and achievement of key industry quality standards.
Lead by managing director Andy Graham, ATAG Cable Solutions now employs 15 people and manufactures all its high quality cables in the UK to meet the colour, size and finish requirements specified by individual clients.
Most of the businesses customers are based in the UK, but an increasing amount of work is being won overseas, and part of the latest investment will be used to target further international markets.
David Hazeldine, operations director at ATAG, says: “Losing a key customer with little warning presented a real problem, but we saw the opportunity as well as the threat and moved quickly to take advantage of it.
“Being able to offer both custom cable manufacture and custom cable assemblies has substantially increased the range of projects we’re able to take on, and we think there’s the potential to grow the company’s revenues by around a third this year as a result.
“Our success has been based on the quality and reliability of our products, which are manufactured to very high standards, and maintaining that focus on quality remains a core part of the way we work.
“We’ve made a lot of progress since bringing in the first NEL investment and we think there’s still a lot for us to achieve both in domestic and overseas markets.
“We’ve maintained a positive relationship with the NEL team, and it made sense to go back to them for the capital we now need to take ATAG through the next exciting stage of its development.”
David Thomas, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “The ATAG team’s ambition, vision and determination is extremely admirable, and we’re very pleased to be part of the company’s continuing evolution.”
Aimed at regional businesses which are at a development and growth stage, the Growth Fund forms part of the wider Finance for Business North East Fund.
Managed by North East Finance, it will see £125m of investment capital injected into the region by the European Investment Bank and the European Regional Development Fund 2007-13 over a five year period.
NEL is looking to make around 130 investments over the five-year life span of the Growth Fund, and is actively looking to speak to ambitious north east companies with robust business plans.
For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, visit www.nel.co.uk or contact the investment team on 0845 111 1850.
The ERDF 2007-13 programme is bringing over £300m into North East England to support innovation, enterprise and business support. It will help create and safeguard 28,000 new jobs, start 3,000 new businesses and increase the region’s productivity by £1.1bn per annum.