A business which specialises in products made from reclaimed rubber is expanding with a £120k loan from Merseyside Special Investment Fund (MSIF).
Safer Surfacing Limited uses rubber from recycled tyres to produce a range of rubber chippings and granules which can be laid loose or bound with resin into solid safety flooring.
The products are used primarily in playgrounds, landscaping, equestrian, patios, pathways and even chicken runs.
The Ellesmere Port-based business was established in 2012 by brothers Ian and Graham Glassbrook.
MSIF provided a £120k loan via the government’s Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) Scheme. The money is being used to invest in new machinery, set up a second production line and buy more materials.
Director Ian Glassbrook said: “We started out building and installing tyre processing lines, but there was no real market for the products once the tyres had been shredded and granulated so we came up with the concept of colouring the rubber, and looking at the markets for selling."
“After several years of development we have established a way of manufacturing one of the world’s toughest materials right here in Ellesmere Port. We aim to produce high quality products with the environment in mind. “Using rubber for our chippings cuts costs as the longevity is unmatched against most other safety surfaces on today’s market. Our specially formulated polyurethane coatings give the rubber a high quality surface that is vibrant and hard wearing, providing a one off application.”
“The business has experienced significant growth during the last 12 months and we will be recruiting two new positions within the company and expect that orders will continue to increase."
“We therefore needed funding to expand the operation. MSIF helped tailor a package to suit the needs of our business which will enable us to research and develop our products further and expand into new markets. Their hands-on approach and guidance was a great support.”
MSIF investment director Paul Humphray said: “Legislation along with insurance company guidelines are driving more towards accredited safety surfaces in public areas, schools and playgrounds."
“Safer Surfacing has built up a solid customer base that is continuing to grow and the company has an excellent reputation in the marketplace. I think they are extremely well placed to take advantage of opportunities in what is a fast growing sector. We are very pleased to be supporting the business.”
The business is on course to reach 30% growth this year and this is expected to increase by a further 40%/50% within the next three years. The business currently employs 10 staff and will increase to around 20 during the next three years.
MC Vanguard Corporate Finance Director Jerry Scriven, who acted as advisor to Safer Surfacing, said the funding has charged up the firm’s manufacturing operation so it can capitalise on strong demand for its services.
“MC Vanguard was able to support the Safer Surfacing management team in a number of ways,” he said. “After carrying out a strategic review with the team we were able to pinpoint areas for the firm to generate an element of finance organically."
“Thereafter we helped Safer Surfacing to drive internal activities which ramped up production to a level which made the business attractive from a debt funding perspective.
“Safer Surfacing have put this funding to work by acquiring new equipment, creating sustainable jobs and investing in working capital thereby enabling the firm to truly capitalise on this opportunity now and for the future.
“The internal momentum gained during the process enabled the firm to tick off performance milestones at pace. From a funding perspective, this made the firm more attractive to lenders which crucially enabled us to secure debt based finance as opposed to the equity based investment originally envisaged thereby allowing our client to retain full ownership of the business.”