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21st September 2020

Lichfield copper distributor secures £150,000 MEIF funding boost


BCRS Small Business Loans West MidlandsSmall Business LoansStoke & Staffs LEP

The UK’s only distributor of phosphor copper has secured a £150,000 funding boost from alternative business lender BCRS Business Loans.

Ashcroft Metals & Alloys, based in Lichfield, Staffordshire, has secured the finance through a Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) loan backed by Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

The company, which is run by directors Darren Jewkes and Jonathan Marklew, will use the investment to support its cash flow and safeguard jobs during the period of interruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Ashcroft Metals & Alloys imports phosphor copper into the UK every month, which is then stored in a bonded warehouse before being distributed to a number of manufacturers across the UK. Phosphor copper is generally used as an additive in the manufacturing process of goods such as brass and copper tube, which is commonly used in the plumbing industry.

Jonathan Marklew said: “Securing this funding boost from BCRS has really helped us relieve the pressure following what has been a very difficult year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are now in a much better position to build our business turnover back up to pre-coronavirus levels and we anticipate this will take roughly six to 12 months.

“By supporting our cash flow, making our business leaner and maintaining strong relationships with our customers and suppliers we are ready to make the most of new opportunities that arise in the coming months.”

Stephen Deakin, Chief Executive of BCRS Business Loans, said: “We are delighted to have supported Ashcroft Metals and Alloys which, like most businesses, has had to adapt to the changing trading environment due to COVID-19.

“Both Darren and Jonathan are incredibly experienced in their industry and the firm’s offering is essential for manufacturing processes across the country. As a lender dedicated to social and economic impact, this finance will help ease the firm’s cash flow and safeguard jobs. We believe that no viable business should go unsupported.”

Ryan Cartwright, Senior Manager at the British Business Bank, said:

“This MEIF loan backed by CBILS, will allow Ashcroft Metals & Alloys to manage the interruption caused by the pandemic. This is key to safeguarding jobs and supporting the firm’s long-term recovery and we’re pleased that MEIF has been able to support. We would encourage other Midlands’ businesses to consider the support available through these funds and other British Business Bank support schemes.”

 Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP chairman Alun Rogers said:

“Since the pandemic began the LEP has been working with businesses to ensure they know where to go for the right support. BCRS has done a tremendous job over the years – giving them the essential financial backing to boost their operations.

“The pandemic has hit businesses hard and so we can see now how funding like this is critical to businesses. We’re pleased to see Ashcroft Metals & Alloys benefit and continue to supply the UK manufacturing sector.”

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is managed by the British Business Bank on behalf of, and with the financial backing of the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

West Midlands based businesses can secure loans from £50,001 to £150,000 via CBILS accredited lender BCRS Business Loans, where interest and lender-levied fees are paid by the government for the first year. Alternatively, loans from £10,000 to £150,000 are available from BCRS outside of the CBILS scheme.

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