Aartoft expands after second Growth Fund investment

Lynemouth construction firm secures £200,000 of funding as it seeks to concrete more on the domestic market

David Thomas of NEL Fund Managers
David Thomas of NEL Fund Managers

A specialist construction firm is putting expansion plans into action after securing a second investment from the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund.

The development of the Lynemouth-based Aartoft Limited was initially supported in mid-2013, when it received £300,000 from the fund, administered by NEL Fund Managers.

Now, the company, which employs 30 people, has secured a further £200,000 through NEL, with the support of Ryecroft Glenton Corporate Finance.

Already, it has won a major new contract with St Andrews University, and has a number of other projects in the pipeline.

Set up in 2012 by husband and wife team Niels Sandahl and Helle Dräger-Sandahl, Aartoft is the UK’s only producer of lightweight concrete pre-fabricated bathrooms, which have been widely used in the Scandinavian construction industry for some time.

The firm has built a strong customer base both in the UK and in Denmark, but after diversifying into the production of lightweight steel frame bathroom pods commonly used in UK construction, it is now increasing its focus on the domestic market.

As part of this, the business has recruited a new director, William Johnson, as well as several apprentices.

Niels Sandahl, who moved to the North East four years ago, said: ”The cost, efficiency and quality benefits that our products and way of working offer have quickly become clear to our growing customer base, and we’re beginning to realise the huge potential that we believe our products have in the UK.

“William’s experience in the domestic market is already proving invaluable in delivering our growth plans, and we are increasing our workforce to help manage the increased demand, with a further senior member of staff set to join before the end of the year.

“Part of the reason for basing ourselves in the North East was the highly-skilled workforce to which we had access, and the apprentices we’re taking on will receive excellent training from staff who have proved extremely adept at manufacturing our very specialised products.

“Our relationship with NEL has worked very well, and with the support of Ryecroft Glenton Corporate Finance, it was a natural choice for us to approach NEL for a second round of funding, which we’re extremely pleased to have secured.”

David Thomas, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, said: “Aartoft has a strong product proposition which has made clear inroads into the improving construction sector, and they now have the resources and personnel on board to put the next stage of their commercial strategy into action.”

Barry Gill, Corporate Finance Senior at Ryecroft Glenton Corporate Finance, added: “I advised Aartoft that financing from NEL was a good option for them when the business was establishing itself, and this second round of funding will allow the company to grow further.”

Aimed at regional businesses at a development and growth stage, the fund forms part of the wider Finance for Business North East Fund.

It will see £142m 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 during that time.

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