A successful north east consulting engineering business is eyeing new overseas opportunities as it aims to double its turnover and grow its workforce by over 50 per cent in the next 12 months.
Newcastle-based Patrick Parsons Ltd (PPL) provides full civil and structural engineering design services to a wide variety of clients and markets, working both domestically and overseas on schemes ranging from structural surveys to multi-million pound new-build developments.
The business is now looking at opportunities in new locations across the UK and overseas, as well as developing the breadth of specialisms it can offer directly to clients through strategic recruitment and service developments.
To help fulfil these aims, regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers is backing PPL with a £250,000 investment from the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund.
A previous investment from NEL supported the 2007 management buy-out of the Parsons Group led by managing director Peter Stienlet, which led to staff numbers more than doubling, from 12 to 26.
The company is now aiming to increase this figure to 40 staff by the end of the year, through both tactical recruitment of staff with new skills and additions brought about by the firm’s continuing growth.
The Growth Fund investment will also support the upgrading of its IT systems and the expansion of its new geo-environmental team, led by Grant Richardson, which will enable them to offer a range of new services directly instead of contracting them out elsewhere.
Peter Stienlet says: “Part of the reason that we’ve been able to succeed in what is still a difficult market is the proactive approach we take to generating work – rather than waiting for tender opportunities to come to us, we’re putting together the resources required to develop schemes and finding partners to work with to make them happen.
“Expanding the range of services we offer and the locations in which we’re working is a natural function of this approach, and it will give us the capacity to take advantage of the commercial opportunities that we know are out there.
“We are a north east business at heart, and our Newcastle office will always be our headquarters, but there is every reason to think we’ll be able to establish other offices elsewhere in the UK in the long-term.
“Having worked with NEL in the past, we understood how they could help us and had the relationships in place to make it happen – their support gives us the chance to really build on the progress we’ve made since the MBO, and their confidence in us is greatly appreciated.”
David Thomas, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “PPL’s progress since the MBO has been very impressive, especially given the backdrop of the general economic climate, and the momentum that this investment provides will help the management team realise the next stage of their ambitions.”
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.