Belfast Telegraph

Downpatrick guitar makers Lowden in tune with export growth

By David Elliott

A Downpatrick company which crafts guitars for some of the world's most famous musicians is to create three new jobs after securing fresh funding

Eric Clapton, Foy Vance and Paul Brady are all customers of Lowden Guitars which plans to use the injection of cash to double its production space and buy new manufacturing machinery.

The company didn't reveal how much lending it had secured from Invest NI's £50m Growth Loan Fund but it will use it to further expand its export base, according to George Lowden, the founder and owner of Lowden Guitars.

"There are perhaps half-a-dozen companies in the world that can produce guitars of this quality," he said. "We handcraft a product that offers a totally unique tone. The support of WhiteRock Capital Partners has been crucial in helping us to expand and reach an even wider audience."

And he felt there is a gap in the market for Lowden Guitars products.

"There is significant room for growth in all of our markets from the Far East, through to Europe and America. Scaling up our output by approximately 50% over the next three years is an important part of delivering that. The majority of our processes are not automated and this financing has helped us to bring on board equipment that complements the skills of our staff."

To date the Growth Loan Fund has approved loans of over £12m to 50 indigenous SMEs across Northern Ireland.

David McCurley, senior investment manager at WhiteRock Capital Partners LLP, said: "This is a story about local talent – a company from Northern Ireland supporting skilled employment and creating a product that is recognised and respected around the world. We're proud to be working with the business."

Belfast Telegraph