North East Expansion for Pioneering Catalyst Fund
A unique fund that helps Tees Valley companies bid for
contracts, which create and sustain jobs in the area, is being
expanded to outside the Tees Valley.
The £10 million fund, the first of its kind in the UK, was
launched in Tees Valley to provide security for performance bond
guarantees, which offer a financial guarantee to a contractor that
a supplier will deliver on time and to standard.
Backed by the Regional Growth Fund, the Tees Valley Unlimited
(TVU) initiative gave Tees Valley companies the ability to bid for
large commercial contracts, opening up new markets and
opportunities and helping to further strengthen the local
Following its success, TVU, the Local Enterprise Partnership for
Tees Valley, is extending the fund so it is accessible to firms
across the whole of the North East.
Performance bonds can cover a number of sectors, although
generally cover high value products and are common in the oil and
gas, construction, advanced engineering and offshore wind
Stephen Catchpole, TVU Managing Director, said: “The fund has
proved to be an effective and efficient catalyst to Tees Valley
companies wanting to bid for contracts.
“It has caught the attention and imagination of businesses
outside Tees Valley and now the scheme’s geographical footprint is
being extended outside the area.”
TVU established the innovative fund after pinpointing that a
lack of help to provide bonds was a barrier to growth for many
companies in the area.
The regional version will be managed by FW Capital, which has
been administering the Tees Valley scheme since its launch.
One company to recently benefit is award-winning engineering
company Wilton Engineering Services Ltd, of Port Clarence,
Stockton, which recently completed a £33 million project for the
world’s largest independent oil and gas exploration and production
It has secured a £1.2 million loan from the Fund to finance the
project’s warranty bond with Lloyds Bank.
Established in 1994, Wilton is a specialist provider of services
including design and consultancy, fabrication, coatings and site
services to the offshore and marine industry.
Managing Director, Bill Scott, who was named North East Business
Executive of the Year in 2011 and the Entrepreneurs’ Forum
Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012, believes the funding will improve
the company’s ability to tender for contracts in the future.
He said: “Wilton Engineering Services has a long and established
reputation in the Tees Valley onshore and offshore energy sector.
We’re proud to have been providing specialist high-quality services
to numerous key Tees Valley industries for more than 20 years.
“With the Tees Valley Catalyst Fund backing we’ve been able to
move away from using our working capital to cover warranty bonds
and have been able to invest in the business to improve our
facilities and resourcing. We’re now well-placed to bid for more
contracts in future.”
Wilton has completed structures weighing up to 12,000 tonnes on
site and undertaken work including sub-sea structures, pipeline
clamps and platform and subsea protection structures.
Stephen Catchpole added: “Wilton Engineering Services is a
company that Tees Valley truly can be proud of with a track record
of making its mark at home and abroad.
“The award to Wilton Engineering Services demonstrates how Tees
Valley Catalyst Fund unlocks business opportunities and enhances
companies’ capacity to deliver growth.”
Nicky Atkinson, Investment Executive at FW Capital, said:
“Wilton Engineering Services is a well-known and respected name in
the North East’s oil and gas industry with an experienced
management team and strong strategic vision.
“FW Capital is pleased to have worked with Bill and his team, as
well as Lloyds Bank, to structure a loan that provided the
financial backing to meet the warranty bond requirements of this
high profile project with ConocoPhillips.
“Now the fund it being extended across a wider area, it will be
able to help ambitious North East businesses take advantage of
opportunities for growth and to access new markets.”
Alison Smith, Relationship Director at Lloyds Bank Commercial
Banking in the North East, said: “We have seen Wilton Engineering
Services go from strength to strength in recent years as it
capitalises on increasing demand for specialist engineering
expertise. We look forward to continuing our support for such an
ambitious business, alongside FW Capital and The Tees Valley
Catalyst Fund, as it targets further expansion.”
Launched in 2013, the Tees Valley Catalyst Fund, helps
businesses bid for new contracts by providing short-term finance
from £100,000 to £2 million to fund short-term advance payment
guarantees, performance and warranty bonds as well as to extend
existing bond facilities. Finance is typically available for up to
The fund is expected to unlock almost £700 million of additional
work and support approximately 1,440 jobs in Tees Valley during the
next ten years.
It is an ‘evergreen’ fund with interest and repayments on loans
being ploughed back and recycled into new lending.