Fund­ing boost for Uform

Antrim door sup­plier sets sight son growth af­ter multi-mil­lion pound in­vest­ment

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - Front Page - BY MAR­GARET CAN­NING

A DOOR sup­plier in Co Antrim which kits out 1,000 kitchens a week has se­cured a multi-mil­lion pound fund­ing boost from its bank and an in­vestor as it sets its sights on growth.

Uform, which is one of the big­gest em­ploy­ers in Toome­bridge, has won the sup­port from Danske Bank and the BGF, an in­vestor in small and mid-sized busi­nesses.

The com­pany, lead by Ea­mon and Paul Don­nelly, de­signs and paints kitchen doors and ac­ces­sories for cus­tomers across the UK and Ire­land, and also sells ex-stock prod­ucts.

It sells to all seg­ments of the kitchen re­tail mar­ket, sup­ply­ing over 1,000 kitchens a week to in­de­pen­dent re­tail­ers through its brand Kitchen Stori.

Uform said it would use the in­vest­ment to ex­pand fur­ther into mar­kets in the UK and the Repub­lic.

Oak­wood Door De­signs, the com­pany be­hind trad­ing name Uform, re­ported pre-tax profits of £3.5m for the trad­ing year end­ing April 30 2017, up from £2.4m, while turnover was up by around one-third to reach £29.3m.

Ac­cord­ing to its fi­nan­cial state­ments, the com­pany has 175 mem­bers of staff, up from 136 the year be­fore.

BGF has pro­vided around £40m in cap­i­tal to North­ern Ire­land firms over the last three years. It has pro­vided fund­ing to house­builder Braid­wa­ter, recy- cling com­pany River­ridge, cof­fee and food chain Bob & Berts and soft­ware de­vel­oper Au­dit­com­ply.

Ea­mon Don­nelly, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Uform, said: “We started a four-phase growth strat­egy in 2013 and the busi­ness has grown rapidly in that time.

“We’ve in­vested heav­ily in dou­bling the size of our oper­a­tion and in­stalled state of the art paint lines to in­crease our pro­duc­tiv­ity and prod­uct range.

“Uform is an am­bi­tious com­pany and we want to con­tinue our pace of growth across the UK and Ire­land in the com­ing years.

“BGF is a good match for our busi­ness and we have al­ready built a very strong re­la­tion­ship with the BGF team — they have bought into our vi­sion of where we want to take the busi­ness and the net­work they bring has opened up many op­por­tu­ni­ties not just here, but also across Great Bri­tain.

“Their ex­pe­ri­ence will en­sure they help us scale the busi­ness, en­hance our op­er­a­tional com­pe­ten­cies and align our strate­gic plan to achieve the next few years’ planned growth.”

Pa­trick Gra­ham, head of cen­tral Scot­land and North­ern Ire­land at BGF, said: “Ea­mon and his team bring a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence and we look for­ward to help­ing un­lock the com­pany’s po­ten­tial to be num­ber one in their sec­tor. Uform has set it­self an am­bi­tious growth tar­get for the next three years and we’re de­lighted that BGF’S in­vest­ment will pro­vide the cat­a­lyst to achiev­ing those goals.”

Ge­off Sharpe, head of cor­po­rate at Danske Bank, said: “Danske Bank has a long­stand­ing and suc­cess­ful re­la­tion­ship with Uform, hav­ing sup­ported the growth of the busi­ness as strate­gic bank­ing part­ner for over 25 years.

“Ea­mon, Paul and the se­nior man­age­ment team are ex­tremely pas­sion­ate about their busi­ness and we are de­lighted to be sup­port­ing the fu­ture growth of the busi­ness to­gether with BGF.”

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