Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Clothing firm has growth all sewn up thanks to loan fund

David McCurley, Senior Investment Manager, WhiteRock Capital Partners with Seamus Mullan, Managing Director, Aria Clothing Limited

A Belfast clothing company has joined the list of 12 firms which have secured money from a fund set up to lend £50m over the next five years.

Aria Clothing will use the money from the Growth Loan Fund, which is backed by both Invest NI and private sector group Northern Ireland Local Government Officers' Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC), to grow its export business.

The firm designs ladies' fashion for the UK, Irish and European markets and the investment could also lead to the creation of a number of new local jobs in the coming months, according to managing director Seamus Mullan

"We are constantly investing in design and innovation to deliver market-leading ladies' fashion and, having undertaken in-depth market research, are confident that our product could sell well in new markets further afield than where we are currently trading.

"With such great potential to increase our levels of export to foreign markets, we approached WhiteRock Capital Partners to apply for a loan from the Growth Loan Fund to support this strategy. The funding we have secured will enable us to take the next step in our export journey and, due to anticipated increase in demand for our product as a result, could lead to the creation of up to five new jobs in Northern Ireland in the short-term."

WhiteRock Capital Partners was set up by Braveheart Investment Group and consortium partners NEL Fund Managers and Clarendon Fund Managers to manage the Growth Loan Fund in Northern Ireland.

Paul Millar, Chief Investment Officer of WhiteRock Capital Partners LLP said: "Aria is an excellent candidate for support from the Growth Loan Fund, having delivered strong results in a very challenging market, continued to grow its top line through innovation and product development and demonstrated strong ambition for further growth.

"WhiteRock Capital Partners welcomes applications from similar ambitious SMEs in Northern Ireland who are seeking to grow."

Brookvent, a ventilation systems manufacturer in Dunmurry, was the first company to be awarded funding by the Growth Loan Fund.

In September it received £425,000 but it's not known how much Aria Clothing has borrowed.

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