An expanding north east electronics firm has laid the foundations for the next stage of its development by securing a new six figure business investment.
Connor Solutions specialises in providing low to medium volume Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) to companies operating across a wide range of markets in the UK, Ireland and the US, from industrial and audio/visual to telecoms/datacoms, medical and environmental.
Having increased its turnover by more than 12% over the last year, to £13.3m, Connor is now aiming to break the £20m turnover barrier within the next three years, and to create around 90 new jobs in the process.
With this in mind, the Houghton-le-Spring based firm has secured a £200,000 from regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers, via the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund, to give it the working capital its management team believes is required to take advantage of new opportunities coming up in the next year.
Connor Solutions’ continuing development has been supported with a number of rounds of equity investment from NEL, which first became involved with the company in 2003.
Further investments followed in 2004 and 2009, and NEL has maintained a presence on Connor’s board of non-executive directors throughout the relationship.
The new Growth Fund investment is part of a wider £500,000 investment package that Connor has put together.
Phil Hall, finance director at Connor Solutions, says: “The recession made things tough for both ourselves and our customers, but our performance over the last year has demonstrated both the resilience and quality of our business model, and we’re very much looking forward to a strong future.
“We know that there are an awful lot of opportunities coming our way over the next year, and have been busy putting everything in place that we need to take advantage of them – part of this planning is the working capital we need to manage new contracts as they come in, and this latest investment sets things up perfectly for us.
“We’ve maintained an excellent relationship with NEL over many years, and they were the natural first port of call when we were looking at how we would raise the capital we needed - the team has been both very supportive and very practical in their approach, and their involvement has been crucial to our continuing success.
“We firmly believe that we’ve got everything in place to effect a real step change in the business over the next three years, and will be able to create a significant number of new jobs in the process.”
Jane Siddle, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “Connor has consistently delivered on its business plans over many years, and is a fantastic advert for the manufacturing skillsbase that we have in the north east.
“We’re extremely pleased to be continuing what has been a mutually very beneficial relationship with the company, and are continuing to look for even more ambitious businesses to join them in our investee portfolio.”
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, the European Regional Development Fund 2007-13 and the regional development agency over the next five years.
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.