A FIRM which axed scores of jobs this summer has secured a £4m funding deal to boost the business.
Precision engineers, the VTL Group, based at Longroyd Bridge, is being backed by the Business Growth Fund.
BGF, an independent company set up to help Britain’s growing businesses, has also taken a minority stake in VTL and a seat on its board of directors.
Bruno Jouan, chief executive of VTL, said: “Engineering firms such as VTL have the power to drive the UK economy for many years to come, provided that we continue to invest appropriately in research and development, new products and highly skilled people.
“This is precisely what we have been doing at VTL for the past 12 years and with help from BGF, will continue to do but at an accelerated rate.”
He added: “We see a number of exciting ways to grow the business organically and acquisitively both here in the UK and overseas.”
VTL designs and makes precision parts and assemblies for turbochargers, transmissions and gearboxes for leading engineering, truck and car companies – with customers including Cummins, Toyota and Renault Nissan.
It also carries out product research and development and prototyping.
BGF’s investment will enable VTL to seek new customers in the automotive sector and widen the range of components it makes for existing customers.
The funding package and access to further growth capital will also enable VTL to pursue acquisitions and investments in the future.
News of the investment comes after June’s announcement of about 50 job losses at VTL’s technical centre in Bradley. At the time, VTL said the redundancies were regrettable but “necessary to ensure the long-term focus and competitiveness of the Huddersfield operations”.
Since its formation in 2001, VTL has grown to employ more than 400 people. As well as its Huddersfield HQ and Bradley technical centre, it has factories in the USA and India as well as a sales and technical presence in Japan.
BGF is providing extra support to the company with the appointment of Michael Baunton as non-executive chairman.
He joins VTL from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, where he was interim chief executive. His previous roles have included president and managing director of Tenneco, president at Perkins Engines and vice-president of Caterpillar.
Mr Baunton was awarded a CBE in 2004 for services to the automotive and engineering industries in the UK.
Richard Taylor, Leeds-based senior investment manager for BGF, said: “BGF has invested in a number of exciting manufacturing businesses to date and it is fantastic to be able to welcome VTL into this group.
“Employing over 300 skilled staff in the UK alone, VTL is a prime example of a Yorkshire manufacturing firm with its heart in the UK and operations across the globe.
“VTL is managed by a high calibre team that has created a business of scale and carved out a leading position in its niche markets.
“There is significant scope for growth both organically and with the opportunity to acquire complementary businesses which management have demonstrated that they can integrate quickly and efficiently.”
Mr Baunton said he was delighted to join the board of VTL, adding: “Its growth opportunities have been given a significant boost with BGF’s investment and the company and its management team have impressed me with what they achieved to date.
“I hope to be able to add significant value to VTL through my contacts and experience in the automotive industry.”