Case Study

Flexible financing is a breath of fresh air for ICH


Heating, ventilation and air conditioning specialist secures £2.5m in funding from IGF to expand into thriving FM compliance sector

ICH is a heating, ventilation and air conditioning specialist (HVAC) with strong organic growth. For almost 30 years the company has offered design, installation, maintenance and asset management, all with a personal service. Now the company is poised for a significant shift, as it seeks to service larger contracts and extend its reach into FM compliance testing. This is currently a massive growth area within the HVAC sector offering substantial revenue generation.

ICH already ploughs its profits back into the successful business. To compete with its larger competitors and take advantage of the thriving FM compliance sector it needed to invest in technology efficiencies and take on highly-skilled engineers. ICH selected a flexible financial partner in Independent Growth Finance that would enable it to quickly secure £2.5 million in funding.

As a result, ICH is expecting revenues to jump 20 percent – from £11.6 million in 2018, to £14 million by 2020.

Traditional finance out in the cold

ICH had a clear route to nationwide expansion, yet traditional high street lenders were not providing the support needed to enable this ambitious growth. Neil Blenkin, managing director of ICH, explains, “Large contracts require a substantial amount of working capital to allow for the purchase of materials and labour. Material costs alone can make up 50 to 60 percent of the expenses behind contracts worth over half a million pounds. Alongside that we needed more highly-skilled engineers who could competently take on the complex needs of jobs outside our current scope, supported by an upgrade in technology that would increase efficiency.

“We quickly realised that we were being stifled by inflexible high-street financiers who would not provide the up-front funding to allow us to take on large nationwide contracts and expand into new services. The decision was made to mutually part ways and we searched for a funding provider who not only understood our business’ growth ambitions but backed us 100 percent.”

Unlocking new revenue

ICH understood that finding the right funding partner was the key to unlocking new revenue streams. In June 2018 Neil Blenkin met with Independent Growth Finance, a leading asset based lender. It soon became clear the two companies shared an entrepreneurial approach to business.

“We chose IGF as our new funding partner because we felt they understood us and what we were trying to achieve,” continues Neil Blenkin.“It is a breath of fresh air to work with a company that values business relationships as much as we do. As we embark on this expansion journey, we feel confident that we have the right lender by our side who will grow with us.”

Jon Hughes, commercial director ABL, IGF, added, “Sourcing funding for growth is a big decision and companies need to feel that they have the full support of their funding partner. Building strong relationships with our clients is vital. It enables us to understand how we can help them realise their growth ambitions. We’re proud to work alongside a company who will do whatever it takes to reach their true potential. With almost 30 years’ experience, unwavering customer service and the right financial support we’re looking forward to a long relationship with Neil and his team as ICH continues to go from strength-to-strength.”

Future ambitions heating up

Switching from traditional high street lending to alternative funding is already paying off for ICH. Current revenues of £11.6m are set to jump 20 percent by 2020 to £14 million. In addition to its extensive service and team expansion, the development of new £160,000 offices in Newcastle to support its growing staff base is also underway.

Neil Blenkin concluded, “IGF has not only given us the funding we needed to secure an even brighter future but also invaluable advice and support. We will continue to invest our profits back into the business, our first-class team of experts and customer service representatives, because that’s what makes us stand out from the competition.”

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