Jobs boost expected

Seen at the Lynemouth facility are  (from left) Barry Gill of Tait Walker, Jonathan Leonard of UK Export Finance, Simon Dunn of Santander, Niels Sandahl of Aartoft and David Thomas of NEL.

Seen at the Lynemouth facility are (from left) Barry Gill of Tait Walker, Jonathan Leonard of UK Export Finance, Simon Dunn of Santander, Niels Sandahl of Aartoft and David Thomas of NEL.

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A NICHE bathroom manufacturer is feeling flush after securing £300,000 of investment.

Aartoft, which has its manufacturing base in Lynemouth, hopes to provide at least 20 new jobs as it expands its specialist construction business.

The company is the UK’s only producer of lightweight concrete pre-fabricated bathrooms, which have long been used in Scandinavia for hotels, student accommodation, nursing homes, apartments and social housing.

Now the business, which currently employs 30 staff, is hoping to popularise the method in the UK market, as well as target commercial opportunities back in Scandinavia.

The expansion plans have been backed by £300,000 of investment from the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund, which is administered by NEL Fund Managers.

Support has also been provided by Santander Bank and UK Export and Finance, with advice supplied by Michael Smith and Barry Gill of accountancy firm Tait Walker.

Aartoft owner Niels Sandahl, who settled in the region three years ago, said: “The last three years of working in the North East have shown me what a fantastic location it is for manufacturing.

“We’ve been able to build a highly skilled workforce that has now been trained to manufacture this very specialised product, and we expect to see it grow as our development plans are put into action.

“We were very keen to find locally-based investment capital to support what we wanted to do, and working closely with Tait Walker we had long discussions with NEL about how its backing could help us realise our commercial objectives, discussions which reached a pleasingly positive conclusion.”

Each of the financial partners was dependent on the others to see the deal through.

The Growth Fund is part of a wider finance package to see £125million of investment capital injected into the region by the European Investment Bank and European Regional Development Fund over a five-year period.

NEL is looking to make around 130 investments over the life-span of the fund and is keen to speak to other ambitious North East companies with robust business plans.

For more information about the investment criteria visit www.nel.co.uk or call 0845 111 1850.