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Alternative Finance Sets Aero Parts Manufacturer Up to Soar

“These days we are all pretty much ready to jump on a plane at the drop of a hat because the price has come down. The dramatic increase in air travel is driving exponential growth of commercial jets globally. Martin Aerospace, a manufacturer of critical parts for Boeing and Airbus engines finds itself in middle of the frenzy to satisfy demand.”

How did you get started?

” The business was formed in 1993. At that time, it served the oil and gas sector but by utilising our strong technical expertise and engineering capabilities we gradually moved away from this and by 2006 most of our turnover was coming from the aero sector. We started manufacturing threaded rolled fasteners for commercial plane engines and became one of four suppliers in the whole of the Rolls-Royce supply chain to make these in the UK. To be able to service their engines, which are sold on to Boeing and Airbus, Rolls-Royce needs to have the highest level of quality control and accreditation. Martin Aerospace is one in a very unique small band of players that has this level of accreditation.”

What challenges did you encounter?

“A current key challenge is keeping up with the spectacular growth of the aerospace industry. The view is that there isn’t enough capacity in the supply chain to support engine build demand. Martin Aerospace is among a number of companies gearing up to meet demand by investing in new equipment technology.

For example, just over a year ago the business invested half a million pounds in a machine that can reduce the production times of certain parts from 55 minutes down to 22 minutes. Not only does that lower the cost of the product—it means that you can increase your factory capacity. If Martin Aerospace continues to seek these types of wins it will become more competitive in terms of price. It will also increase factory capacity because you are taking less time to achieve the production of certain parts.

Also, what has been key is that the business used to run a day shift and a night shift only. It was therefore only running at 66% capacity because it was not running a back shift. The business now runs three full shifts. Today Martin Aerospace is running at full capacity, with better equipment. As a result, it can offer lower pricing and be more competitive in particular against low-cost economies. The key thing is when Martin Aerospace delivers a product at a lower cost it still comes with the higher quality.”

What impact has the financing from Spotcap had for Martin Aerospace?

“Martin Aerospace first approached a traditional finance provider however they were not prepared to buy into the newly developed business plan. The Company has an excellent Invoice Finance Facility however it does not work well during a seasonal downturn. From late November through to early February customers stop ordering and the factory also closes for two weeks. During this slowdown, invoices are not issued and cashflow halts. Therefore, what Spotcap delivered was a lifeline to an established and profitable business that was facing a cashflow issue due to circumstance outwith management’s control. The application and speed of decision making were fantastic and allowed us to focus on operations and day to day management rather than fire-fighting a difficult cash position.

Our board of directors also liked the unsecured element of the Spotcap funding. When you look at other providers what you eventually realise is that that by the time you have an offer on the table the directors are asked to give a personal guarantee. That is not unsecured. We have two new directors in the Martin Aerospace business and simply put—it was too big of an ask.

We are excited about what the future holds for Martin Aerospace. The sector outlook is positive, our management team is strong and we have been able to make key technology investments—we don’t feel that we are reaching for the sky in targeting a turnover of £20 million by the end of 2022.”

Ready to take your business to the next level?

Director Allan Caldwell