Co Ty­rone man­u­fac­turer an­nounces ‘sig­nif­i­cant’ in­vest­ment by H2 Eq­uity

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - Platform - BY GAVIN MCLOUGH­LIN

IN­VEST­MENT firm H2 Eq­uity Part­ners has made a “sig­nif­i­cant” in­vest­ment in Co Ty­rone-based BA Com­po­nents.

Cook­stown-based BA man­u­fac­tures kitchen and bed­room doors and fur­ni­ture com­po­nents. Founded by twin broth­ers Brian and Kieran Mccracken, it also has man­u­fac­tur­ing sites in Don­caster and Rother­ham in Eng­land.

The deal “will sup­port BA’S strat­egy of con­tin­ued in­vest­ment in our man­u­fac­tur­ing sites and bring­ing new prod­uct ranges to mar­ket and be­ing able to serve all parts of the mar­ket”, the com­pany said.

“The aim is to be­come Ire­land and the UK’S clear num­ber one spe­cial­ist door and fur­ni­ture com­po­nent man­u­fac­turer.”

Man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Brian McCracken said the com­pany started at­tract­ing M&A in­ter­est about two years ago: “We had a few of­fers to sell the busi­ness but we didn’t want to do that. So we came up with a hy­brid if you like, which is where the H2 guys come in. They un­der­stand fam­ily busi­nesses.

“It was very much about what’s right for BA as a busi­ness, and Kieran and my­self... we still are ma­jor share­hold­ers in the busi­ness. We still are ac­tive and will be.”

It’s the third in­vest­ment made by H2’s lat­est fund, a €235m en­deav­our tar­get­ing in­vest­ments in UK and Ir­ish SMES. H2 in­vest­ment man­ager Cathal Tur­ley said the firm had ap­proached the Mc­crack­ens di­rectly be­cause of H2’s knowl­edge of the sec­tor.

“We vis­ited a lot of BA’S com­peti­tors as well and what we no­ticed straight away was that BA has some of the most ad­vanced fa­cil­i­ties within Ire­land and the UK.

“So we want to build upon that and con­tinue to in­vest in plant and ma­chin­ery, and make them the clear num­ber one player in the mar­ket.

“That in­cludes in­vest­ing in new prod­ucts and bring­ing new prod­ucts to mar­ket, some­thing which BA does ev­ery year,” he said.

Fi­nan­cial terms were not dis­closed.

Brexit is com­ing — but what it will mean for the fu­ture of cre­ative in­dus­tries in North­ern Ire­land? So far there have been few to no an­swers — but the lower value of the pound post-ref­er­en­dum can surely only pull more in­ter­na­tional pro­duc­tion into the UK mar­ket, mak­ing North­ern Ire­land even more com­pet­i­tive.

Soon the Su­per­man pre­quel se­ries Kryp­ton be­gins film­ing in Belfast; Dis­ney’s The Lodge has just fin­ished sea­son 2; new drama The Woman in White for BBC One was re­cently shot in Greyabbey — and I haven’t even men­tioned Line of Duty or The Fall at this point.

Oh, and did any­one watch the new and im­proved Blind Date over the sum­mer on Chan­nel 5? Did you know that was pro­duced by lo­cal pro­duc­tion com­pany Stel­lify Me­dia?

And this sum­mer has seen sea­son 7 of Game of Thrones on Sky At­lantic and I am hooked as are mil­lions around the world.

Lo­cal com­pa­nies and in­ter­na­tional pro­duc­ers are cre­at­ing highly suc­cess­ful drama, chil­dren’s an­i­ma­tion and factual con­tent here — and it is big busi­ness for North­ern Ire­land plc.

North­ern Ire­land Screen states that it will lever­age more than £250m out of an in­vest­ment of £42m un­der its cur­rent plan for the four years 2014-18. Th­ese are im­pres­sive fig­ures.

The Royal Tele­vi­sion So­ci­ety North­ern Ire­land (RTS NI) Pro­gramme Awards give us a chance to cel­e­brate th­ese suc­cesses, our grow­ing cre­ative sec­tor and con­tin­u­ing achieve­ments.

But as ev­ery­one pon­ders what is next post-brexit, the only cer­tainty we have is that train­ing and devel­op­ment of our next gen­er­a­tion needs to be para­mount for our cre­ative sec­tor here to con­tinue to grow and strive.

So much has changed since I grad­u­ated a decade ago; not only do we now have big pro­duc­tions be­ing cre­ated in North­ern Ire­land and a thriv­ing lo­cal pro­duc­tion hub, but the op­por­tu­ni­ties for young peo­ple seek­ing work within the cre­ative sec­tor have never been health­ier.

Once it was be­lieved you had to leave North­ern Ire­land to carve a ca­reer out within the cre­ative sec­tor — the move to Lon­don was seen as the only route, but this is no more, and a big part of that is be­cause of the hard work by North­ern Ire­land Screen, lo­cal broad­cast­ers and the ed­u­ca­tional sec­tor to grow our tal­ent in the prov­ince.

Such has been the suc­cess of Aim High, a North­ern Ire­land Screen and BBC North­ern Ire­land new en­trant train­ing scheme to at­tract and re­tain tal­ent in the lo­cal tele­vi­sion sec­tor, that the scheme has been ex­tended to in­clude an­i­ma­tion, gam­ing and in­ter­ac­tive.

I re­cently fin­ished work­ing on a new short film called Spar­row pro­duced by one of North­ern Ire­land’s top drama pro­fes­sion­als, Julie Gard­ner, and di­rected by re­cent grad­u­ate and up­com­ing tal­ent Re­bekah Davis. De­vel­oped and pro­duced through the Bri­tish Film In­sti­tute and North­ern Ire­land Screen’s Ac­cess Shorts scheme.

Some of North­ern Ire­land’s top crew, who nor­mally work on large-scale drama in­ter­na­tional projects at home and abroad, gave their time and ex­per­tise to help Re­bekah make her first fully-funded drama. The Ac­cess Short Scheme is a great chance for new up­com­ing di­rec­tors and writ­ers to be show­cased.

My proud­est achieve­ments since join­ing the Royal Tele­vi­sion So­ci­ety in 2012, have been the es­tab­lish­ment of RTS Fu­tures NI as well as the RTS NI Stu­dent Awards (any stu­dents out there, en­tries have just opened).

Nei­ther ex­isted when I was a stu­dent. But both give young peo­ple a chance to net­work with in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als and show­case their work.

Lo­cal stu­dent Ge­or­gia Parkin­son is the cur­rent Chair, and runs in­dus­try events with BAFTA-WIN­NING pro­fes­sion­als such as Brian Fal­coner, pro­ducer of Booga­loo and Gra­ham.

The growth of in­ter­ac­tive con­tent within North­ern Ire­land is an ex­cit­ing phase of our cre­ative sec­tor devel­op­ment here, with games, e-learn­ing, web and mo­bile projects be­ing de­vel­oped for in­ter­na­tional mar­kets and dis­tri­bu­tion.

RTS NI has recog­nised this growth by launch­ing a new In­ter­ac­tive En­ter­tain­ment cat­e­gory as part of our Awards this year, as well as a new Orig­i­nal Mu­sic Score cat­e­gory which cel­e­brates the first class mu­sic be­ing cre­ated here for well-known pro­grammes.

There is no doubt that “Brexit is com­ing...” and with that a set of ques­tions to ev­ery busi­ness sec­tor in the land, but the cre­ative sec­tor in North­ern Ire­land is in a great place — we truly have some of the most tal­ented peo­ple in the world, mak­ing fan­tas­tic con­tent we can all en­joy — that is some­thing worth cel­e­brat­ing.

We have a thriv­ing pro­duc­tion hub and the op­por­tu­ni­ties for young peo­ple are very healthy

There is no doubt that Brexit is com­ing ... but the North­ern Ire­land cre­ative sec­tor is in a great place

Steve Car­son and Sarah Mccaf­frey re­mind NI pro­duc­tion firms of Fri­day’s dead­line for en­try to the RTS NI Awards. Hit shows filmed here in­clude (below) Line of Duty, Game of Thrones and (right) The Fall

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