Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Aerospace firm to make 40 jobs after Amiri's investment boost

From left, Sean Phelan of Maydown Precision Engineering joined Alastair Hamilton of Invest NI and Paul Millar of WhiteRock Capital Partners, after Maydown secured a loan from the Growth Loan Fund, administered by WhiteRock, last year

Londonderry aerospace company Maydown Precision Engineering (MPE) is set to create 40 jobs as it welcomes a new investor and 'venture catalyst' on board.

Amin Amiri and his a2e Venture Catalysts, based in Manchester, have ploughed equity and loans worth an undisclosed sum into the business, which employs around 135 people supplying parts to companies like Bombardier, Airbus and Boeing.

It will now embark on a £2.5m capital expenditure programme.

The arrival of Mr Amiri also coincided with the termination of appointments of six of Maydown's directors, according to filings at Companies House. The departing directors included Michael Ryan, who is best known as the vice president and general manager of Bombardier Aerospace.

In 2013, the company received a £500,000 cash injection from the Growth Loan Fund, administered by WhiteRock Partners.

Mr Amiri, who is now a majority shareholder in the business, said he believed it could expand rapidly in the future and reach even 25% sales growth per year.

"Our desire is to greatly enhance the expertise and capability of MPE, and our vision is to surpass being a supplier and to become the strategic 'partner' of choice for our existing and future customers.

"As part of this drive, a £2.5m focused capital expenditure programme has been approved, of which circa £1m of the plant are already commissioned.

"I would like to record my great appreciation for the continued support of our customers and also for the ongoing support of Invest NI and WhiteRock Capital Partners."

Maydown managing director Sean Phelan described Mr Amiri has a "strategic and long-term investor-shareholder" whose participation was "great news" for the company.

"The vision and experience of Amin Amiri and his enviable track record has given the management team and the workforce the vital energy to enhance our efficiency and capability, and the confidence to plan for the long term, attract new customers and achieve MPE's potential."

The plans for the company included taking on 40 new members of staff. Craig Holmes and Richard Moorehead from corporate finance advisers Horwood Neill Holmes (HNH) brokered the deal and acted for Maydown.

Mr Holmes said: "It is great to see another Northern Ireland company attract outside investment to help realise its growth ambitions.

"MPE has a blue-chip customer base and will enhance sales globally following this investment.

"HNH are currently assisting a number of companies in different sectors to attract similar investment and it bodes well for the economic growth of the region."

Specialist asset-based lender Leumi ABL acted as loan providers for working capital alongside a2e. Legal advisers to a2e were Turner Parkinson. Advisers to MPE were HNH and Mills Selig, with Addleshaw Goddard the legal advisers to Leumi ABL.

Mr Amiri established a2e as a long-term investor in manufacturing and industry in 2001, and a spokesman said it had an "unrivalled track record in the UK of significantly enhancing the performance and value of its investments". Last year he acquired established aerospace engineering firm BHW Components in Wigan.

He also bought Merseyside engineering firm HQC out of administration. He told the Daily Telegraph in 2012 that he had made a £8.5m return on a £250,000 investment in Covrad, a 110-year-old manufacturer of engine cooling systems.

Mr Amiri has said he prefers "underperforming, unloved, unsexy businesses – the loss-making ones" to good ones, as they offer more scope for turning around.

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