Asset finance: manufacturing confidence

Ian Isaac, head of Lombard, laments over the successes of the UK manufacturing sector, while maintaining Lombard’s continued support for industry.

When we carried out a survey earlier in the year, one of the striking results was the level of confidence in the manufacturing sector – nearly three quarters of those questioned said they were more confident than in the previous 12 months.

Ian Isaac, Managing Director, Business & Commercial (B&C)
Ian Isaac, head, Lombard.

At the same time, a staggering 99% said that they were investing more in equipment, with 93% citing a desire to increase efficiency to drive productivity through investment, and 89% said they were aiming to become more competitive.

These findings are enlightening in several ways, not least in drawing attention to the desire from the manufacturing sector to succeed and drive growth.

Following this survey, Lombard has launched a campaign to make more businesses aware of what asset finance is and the role it can play in supporting investment.

The campaign launched with a supplement in The Times, in which its editorial team offers an explanation of what asset finance is and how it can support UK businesses.

This and the rest of the campaign can be accessed via The Times website – it’s well worth taking a look at the site.

As part of the campaign, we’ve spoken to customers across the country and have found an inspiring and enterprising spirit in business as a whole, and manufacturing in particular.

A great example of this is Ebac, a family-owned manufacturing business based in County Durham.

Ebac employs 200 people in County Durham. It may soon employ 200 more.
Ebac is on track to double its staff from 200 to 400 once washing machine production starts.

The company, which produces dehumidifiers and water coolers, is preparing to launch its first range of UK-manufactured washing machines – the first time these appliances have been produced in this country in a generation or more.

Following a £7m finance package, part of which is provided through asset finance, the company is preparing to introduce the range next Spring.

As well as being a thriving business and employer in the locality – Ebac is on track to double its staff from 200 to 400 once the washing machine production starts – it also runs a trust, the Ebac Foundation, which was set up in 2012 by the company’s founder, John Elliot, to support the local community.

Ebac is a heartening story of a thriving manufacturing sector in the North East. It is not alone, there are many other examples of Ebac across the country but the business embodies the drive and determination of manufacturers.

Blue Cartography Of European Union with Business Silhouettes
There is some uncertainty which remains over issues such as the EU question.

While there is some uncertainty over issues such as the EU question, many manufacturers have the confidence in the quality of the products they produce and focus on the success story on home soil, while others like Hart Biologicals, another North East-based manufacturer, this time of medical products, continues to focus on growing its share of the export market, which partly, as a result of recent investment, accounts for an impressive 80% of its business.

Both businesses are very clear that asset finance was essential to the success of their expansion plans, providing valuable cash flow advantages for what were substantial investments, as well as, the flexibility that has streamlined the process of buying the equipment.

Confidence is at the heart of many success stories and we hope that by continuing to support the manufacturing sector by funding investment, we have a role to play in continuing to strengthen the success story that is UK manufacturing.