A pipeline maintenance manufacturer is hoping even more of its pigs will fly after securing a £500,000 cash injection just four months after it was bought by its managers.
Inpipe Products, which is currently moving its global headquarters to Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, and manufactures out of North Yorkshire, has secured funds from FW Capital to help it grow the sales and hire of its pig-tracking devices for pipelines by 25% over the next two to three years.
Global exports currently account for 84% of sales at the company, which says the move to Durham Way South was crucial to bring it closer to its major Tyneside customers, Newcastle Airport and trade missions by overseas visitors to the North East.
Inpipe, which underwent a Management Buyout (MBO) in March by six of its directors, with managing director Simon Bell taking a 48% stake and angel investor David Bacon buying 14%, will also look to increase its 67-strong workforce by 10% in the next two years.
The company, which has been trading profitably for the last three decades, has also relocated its North Yorkshire manufacturing plant to give it 50% more floor space and better power source.
It will also use the funds to re-brand the business and invest in new IT systems and equipment to underpin its operations.
Managing director Simon Bell told The Journal: “The MBO was funded by the directors in March so this investment gives us the working capital we need to move forward and diversify into the sale and hire of pig-tracking devices. The new HQ will be used to promote this.
“But it also brings us closer to our important customers, which include Newcastle’s Wellstream and Duco, closer to the international hub and routes out of Newcastle Airport, and also the trade missions of the Northern Offshore Federation, which is also based in Durham.
Bell said managers and angel investor David Bacon bought the company from London private equity house Meridian, which held a 70% stake in it for two years, so they had more freedom to invest profits back into the business and get products to market more quickly.
Mr Bell said: “These maintenance products are often commissioned at the very last minute and we need to respond quickly to our customers, often jumping on planes ourselves as the quickest and cheapest way of getting products to our customers.
“I remember during the Jubilee getting on a plane because there was no air freight available and the lady on the desk asked what was in my luggage because it was so heavy.
“I told her it was a pig and she said ‘oh no sir, you can’t carry livestock on board’ so I had to explain that ours are a very different sort of pigs.”
FW Capital investment executive Rob Jones said: “Inpipe Products is an established business with an impressive management team.
“They have a deep understanding of the industry they operate in.
“The company has significant future potential and our investment has provided them with an injection of capital to back their plans.”