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19/02/2011

Tuff X manufactures expansion with £400,000 investment

Processed glass manufacturer, Tuff X, is gearing up for growth in existing and new markets using investment totalling £400,000 from FW Capital and Lloyds TSB Commercial.

FW Capital and Lloyds TSB Commercial have each recently invested £200,000 in the Knowsley-based company. Tuff X will now use the investments to double its production capacity and continue expanding into the lucrative and increasingly popular conservatory roof glass market.

The company has also relocated to new production facilities in Merseyside.

Tuff X currently sells its range of toughened processed glass which includes screen-printed, heat-soak tested, cnc, polished, drilled, sandblasted, and double glazed units to suppliers and installers across the UK.

Over the past 12 months, the company has also witnessed increased demand for its specialist conservatory roof glass.

"Demand for Tuff X’s products, especially our conservatory roof glass which is more energy-efficient, self cleaning and has better solar control, has soared over the past 12 months," commented Graham Price, Managing Director. "This has increased the pressure on our old production facilities in Widnes.

"The investments from FW Capital and Lloyds TSB Commercial have enabled us to relocate our operations to new combined 50,000 square-feet manufacturing and 5,000 square feet office premises in Knowsley. We’ve also invested in new machinery which will enable us to double our production capacity to meet the growing demand."

As well as taking advantage of increased demand, Tuff X will also continue to work alongside a number of leading global glass manufacturers on the development of new products which incorporates the latest technologies.

FW Capital’s investment is its first from the recently-launched North West Fund.

FW Capital manages the £35 million North West Fund for Business Loans which makes loans of between £50,000 and £250,000 to viable small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) based in the North West of England.

Commenting on the investment, Fund Manager, Gary Guest said: “This is an exciting opportunity for FW Capital. Tuff X has an innovative management team with a solid track record of developing products using new technology. This investment will enable the business to grow and increase its share of the processed and specialist glass markets.”

Andy Leach, chief executive of NWBF said: “I’m delighted that FW Capital has made its first investment from The North West Fund, the fund that is set to make a real difference to businesses in the North West and I wish Tuff X well with its growth plans.”

Gareth Hall, Relationship Director at Lloyds TSB Commercial added: “Tuff X’s rapid growth has mirrored that of the North West region, having been involved in a number of recent high-profile and luxury developments including the Liverpool ONE shopping centre and the £190 million greenquarter development in Manchester.

“We have a long-standing relationship with Tuff X and look forward to continuing to work with them as they expand and to support their future growth.”

Ian Latham, Baker Tilly Corporate Finance partner in Liverpool, who acted as lead adviser and assisted in raising the finance for Tuff X, added: “The new facilities will provide Tuff X with the capacity to become the leading national independent supplier of conservatory roof glass and to generate significant operational efficiencies. It is refreshing given the current climate that funders can successfully work together to provide a development capital funding package to businesses which have a strong well presented business case and understand the markets in which they operate.”

FW Capital currently has offices in Manchester and Liverpool.

FW Capital is part of the Finance Wales Group, one of the UK’s largest SME investment companies. The Finance Wales Group manages funds of more than £335 million and has invested over £183 million. It invested a record £37 million in SMEs in the 2009-10 financial year through 246 equity and debt investments.

The North West Development Agency (NWDA) led the development and creation of The North West Fund from drawing-board (2008) to launch (2010) and NWDA funding will continue to support The North West Fund until 2015 as one of its major legacy projects.

Find out more about investing in the North West of England.

*The North West Fund for Business Loans has now been replaced by The North West Fund for Loans Plus.

North West Fund Loans Plus