A five figure loan from NPIF – BEF and FFE Microfinance, part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is helping Eagle Platforms to set its sights on investing more than a million pounds in new equipment over the next five years, as the access platform specialist targets growth.
The funds provided by Finance For Enterprise will be used to purchase additional new lifting machines to support people working from height, predominantly in the construction sector. At the same time, Eagle Platform’s workforce is set to create five additional new jobs as a direct result of the new investment.
Responsible for providing a range of mobile elevating work platforms ranging from articulated cranes and booms to cherry pickers and scissor lifts, demand for Eagle Platform’s equipment has soared. In 2018 the company recorded 30% growth and with the business continuing to exceed all expectations during the first quarter of 2019, managing director Jim Haigh recognised the company needed to act quickly in order secure the additional machines needed to meet demand and turned to Finance For Enterprise for help.
Securing finance quickly was vital and after spending time exploring different funding options, Jim met with Finance For Enterprise investment manager Alan Scott to discuss Eagle Platform’s growth plans. Within 24 hours Alan returned with an indicative decision, and in just five days, the finance was in place, enabling Jim to order the much needed additional equipment.
Launched in 2011, within just two years Eagle Platforms had purchased 40 different forms of lifting machines. As a result of the loans provided NPIF – BEF and FFE Microfinance, the total number of machines held within the business will exceed 120.
Jim Haigh first went into business in 1988 when he set up an access platform company with his father James, who invested his redundancy from the closure of Silverwood colliery into that operation. In 1996 the company was acquired by the Hewden Group; however, in 2011 Jim decided to resurrect his business model. Today Eagle Platforms operates throughout the UK and currently employs 20 people from its North Anston based headquarters.
Jim Haigh, Managing Director, Eagle Platforms said: “Spring and summer is traditionally the busiest time of year for the construction industry. This meant we needed to have finance in place quickly to pay for the equipment deposits, to enable the machines to arrive in time to meet peak demand.
“I had worked with Finance For Enterprise previously and felt confident they understood our business model and the importance of receiving a lending decision quickly. Within five days, the loan had all been agreed, enabling us to concentrate on ordering the additional machinery, as well as securing new orders.
“One of the main reasons for purchasing the new machinery was to reduce our own dependency on rented equipment. As a result of the funds we’ve secured, we’ve not only been able to increase the size of our own fleet but this has also enabled us to create new skilled jobs in the local economy, as well as developing additional revenue streams for the business, including expanding our training school.”
Alan Scott, Investment Manager, Finance For Enterprise said: “Since Jim decided to resurrect Eagle Platforms in 2011, we’ve helped to support the business secure the finance needed to realise his growth plans and we understood the importance of securing a lending decision quickly. We discussed a number of different options and as a result, I was able to develop a tailored lending package, enabling Jim to secure the funds needed to enable him to purchase the new equipment. This funding will pave the way for continued growth within the business”.
Mark Wilcockson, Senior Manager, British Business Bank, said: ‘‘The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund was developed to help businesses access finance at times when they need it most. With the NPIF – BEF and FFE Microfinance loan, Jim and his team are setting their sights on achieving significant growth and are creating new jobs. These are things that can make a real difference, not only to an individual company but also within the wider local economy.’’
The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.