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£150,000 loan will support future expansion of old established Sheffield packaging firm: Company in same family since 1824 now under new ownership

Published: 13th April 2005

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Pickering’s new owner and managing director, Robin Batchelor, left with Investment Manager Karl Hodson.

A £150,000 loan from South Yorkshire Investment Fund will help the new owner of a 180 year-old Sheffield packaging company to embark on an ambitious growth programme.

Joseph Pickering & Sons Ltd, which had been in the same family ownership since 1824, was acquired in February this year by new Managing Director Robin Batchelor who has plans to expand the firm’s £3m turnover to around £10m over the next few years. The intention is to achieve this through a combination of organic growth and acquisitions.

The loan is one of the first to be made since the maximum advance for unsecured loans to profitable established businesses was raised from £100,000 to £150,000.

These loans are aimed at established profitable businesses who may be looking to acquire assets or to undertake a large project – such as the development of a new product, service or method of working.

Unsecured loans of up to £50,000 are available for start-ups and early stage businesses.

Joseph Pickering, based at Little London Road, currently employs around 70 people in the design and manufacture of cartons and packaging for a wide range of industries including healthcare, food and various manufacturing sectors.

Mr Batchelor, who previously ran the UK arm of a French chemical manufacturer, has realised an ambition to run his own business through the purchase of Pickering from the founding family. He plans to keep Sheffield as the main base whilst expanding through satellite depots in other parts of the UK including Lancashire, the North East and Midlands.

He said: "The dynamics of the packaging industry are changing with the largest firms looking to get even bigger and some smaller ones facing a less certain future. I was seeking an opportunity to acquire my own business and believe that Pickering can be expanded and developed into one of the leading privately owned regional packaging firms."

"The loan from South Yorkshire Investment Fund will enable me to accelerate my plans for growth and will help support recruitment and training as we develop a multi-skilled workforce. I found SYIF easy to deal with and look forward to working with them in future."

Karl Hodson, Investment Manager, said: "This deal is an excellent example of our ability to provide funding to established and successful businesses. Joseph Pickering is a historic and successful company which has an exciting future under its new ownership and we are delighted to be playing a part in its continued development. We want to hear from more entrepreneurs – so we can help their long term business plans – and to help us achieve our goals at SYIF."

Editor's Notes

About South Yorkshire Investment Fund

South Yorkshire Investment Fund  provided seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15k to £2.5m, specifically to help small and medium businesses meet the gaps in funding they need for growth and development.

Created as part of the Objective 1 programme, the Fund is a private and public sector business finance provider. The European Regional Development Fund and Yorkshire Forward are investors in the Fund.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund also provided access to Business Angel investments from the Yorkshire Association of Business Angels and Microloans through BiG Business Loan Fund and Donbac Microloan Fund.

Finance Yorkshire has now taken on responsibility for providing gap finance in Yorkshire and the Humber.

For further details please contact Suzanne Tinkler,  on 0845 649 0000.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund Ltd is a company limited by guarantee (Registered No 3936065). South Yorkshire Investment Fund comprises three sub funds, the South Yorkshire Investment Capital Fund, the South Yorkshire Investment Development Fund, which are each managed by YFM Venture Finance Limited, and the South Yorkshire Investment Small Business Fund, which is managed by Finance South Yorkshire Ltd. YFM Venture Finance Limited (Tel 0113 294 5000) and Finance South Yorkshire Ltd (Tel 01709 386 377) are each authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. South Yorkshire Investment Fund also provides a number of services, which are not regulated by The Financial Services Authority. These include the pilot Seedcorn Fund, BiG Business Loan Fund, Mentorbank and access to the Donbac Microloan Fund. BiG Business Loan Fund is managed by Donbac Ltd (company registration No. 01925556) and Key Fund Yorkshire Ltd (Tel 0114 242 8900).