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06/01/2011

Small-screen success as the Dene Group targets growth

Award-winning north east independent film and television production company, the Dene Group has secured investment totalling £795,000 to expand its operations and invest in new equipment.

The Group will also relocate to new headquarters in Ouseburn, in the heart of Newcastle’s creative hub.

The investment is made up of £500,000 from the Growth Plus Fund managed by FW Capital, together with £150,000 from the Growth Fund managed by NEL Fund Managers.  Separately, a further £100,000 has been secured through a Grant for Business Investment administered by One North East. RBS has invested £45,000.

The Growth Plus and Growth funds are part of the Finance For Business North East Fund.

Set up 19 years ago by six-time Royal Television Society winner, Steve Salam, the Dene Group consists of Dene Films, Qurios Animation, Metropolis Pictures, Imagine TX post-production and Riff Raff, an IPTV development company.

Having grown significantly in the last few years, the Group has achieved a number of new contract wins and has also established operations in London and Manchester.

The Dene Group is now regarded as the largest provider of commercials to ITV’s regional broadcast TV teams and has produced almost 5,000 commercials, corporate films and broadcast TV programmes. Dene Films has just delivered its first network TV commission, a documentary for CBBC based around the Michael Palin centre for children with speech difficulties.

“The Dene Group prides itself on its highly talented production and creative team and its desire for innovation and quality,” Mr Salam said. “2010 has been a great year for us winning 4 gongs at the 2010 Royal Television Society Awards and a further five at the prestigious IVCA Awards in London.”

Commenting on the investment, he added: “This investment will underpin our growth strategy significantly and enable us to enhance our competitive advantage.  We’ll be able to purchase updated equipment and moving to new headquarters will improve our efficiency.  It will also provide us with an injection of working capital.”

Joanne Pratt, Senior Investment Executive at FW Capital, said: “FW Capital is delighted to invest in the Dene Group to enable it to leverage the right level of capital to achieve its expansion plans.  Dene has grown substantially in recent years and FW Capital’s investment will improve its capitalisation as it continues to expand.

“The Finance for Business North East Fund is playing an important role in the growth of businesses like Dene and the North East Growth Plus Fund can invest between £350,000 and £1.25 million in a single round in established businesses in the region.”

Jane Siddle, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, added: “Dene has built an outstanding reputation in an extremely competitive sector, and has the management expertise in place to successfully execute its ambitious business expansion plans.”

Advisors on the deal were Watson Burton (legal to FW Capital), Hay & Kilner (legal to the Dene Group), Dickinson Dees (legal to NEL Fund Managers) and Sherpa Business Consultancy (business advisors to the Dene Group).

North East Growth Plus Fund