Safety experts specialising in explosive environments have landed a £300,000 investment from the Finance for Business North East Growth Fund.
It is the second growth fund investment for Northumberland-based Cenelec Standards Inspections Ltd (CSI) – a 33-year-old firm which helps companies running potentially explosive onshore and offshore operations.
The Apex Business Village outfit previously secured a £275,000 investment from the Growth Fund back in 2012, which was used to establish a CompEx training centre – a national joint training initiative developed by the Engineering Equipment and Material Users Association (EEMUA) and training firm JTL.
Since then, CSI’s workforce has increased by around a third to 90 people, with a significant number based from the North East.
Typically dealing with environments such as oil rigs and refineries, distilleries and chemical plants, CSI carries out its services in 28 different countries.
Electrical and instrument inspections are carried out using specialist hand-held equipment which enable compliance requirements to be quickly identified, reported and addressed, and minimising delays.
New clients include Grey Wolf, Precision Drilling and Wintershall, and existing customers include BP, Centrica, ConocoPhillips, Diageo and RWE, and manages their clients’ compliance.
The latest round of funding will help CSI to target the US, Canada and South Korea – all areas which present opportunity.
Executive director Jonathan Gibson said: “An expanding business is an exciting business however the most significant obstacle in looking to continuously improve a company is cash flow, and without NEL’s support, there is a reduction in the opportunities we have to develop new business.
“It is rewarding to see the company continue to expand into new continents, but adapting to alternative standards, directives and regulations that come with the global marketplace bring its challenges.
“Remaining comfortably operational with increasing debtor books as a company grows and instigating the necessary insurance debtor protection with new clients is a delicate process.
“The financial support mechanism that NEL offer through its stringent due diligence process enables the company to proceed with confidence to finance projects, which, through the nature of the services we provide, can be in some of the world’s most remote or potentially hostile environments, such as Egypt, Algeria and Iraq.”
Chris Parker, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, added: “CSI has developed an enviable position in a lucrative market, and their ambition to make even more of this than they have already is very much to be admired.
“Making successive tranches of investment capital available to companies with developing needs is crucial to helping them fully realise their potential and create further wealth and employment in the North East.”
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.