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BGF funding boost

£4m backs Walker’s expansion plans

Gary Walker, Paddy Graham (BGF) and Mark Walker.

BGF’s Paddy Graham (centre) is flanked by Gary Walker (left) and Mark Walker of Walker Precision Engineering

Glasgow-based Walker Precision Engineering has secured a £4million investment from Business Growth Fund to expand its operations in the UK and mainland Europe.

Founded in 1979, the family-owned business manufactures and assembles complex parts for the aerospace, defence and industrial sectors.

The funding from BGF will see the company, which employs more than 250 staff, make further investment at its Glasgow HQ, move its Basildon operations to a new purpose-built facility and double the capacity of its manufacturing facility in Tychy in Poland.

Walker will also be able to invest in specialist machinery, further increasing its high accuracy machining capacity.

The business has experienced an increase in demand from existing and new customers, particularly in the burgeoning space market. Walker has been forging closer links with the International Space Agency and academic institutions, and has been involved in the Galileo Satellite System, which is the European high accuracy positioning system.

As part of the group’s expansion plans, Chris Melrose has joined Walker as non-executive chairman, following an introduction by BGF.

Melrose is a non-executive director of Ralph Martindale and of ADS, the aerospace, defence and security trade association.  Previous posts include that of managing director of a General Electric JV, vice president of Bombardier Aerospace and latterly non-executive chairman of Daher Aerospace.

Mark Walker, managing director at Walker Precision Engineering, said: “Walker has grown steadily over the years through our deep commitment to investing in technical expertise and innovation.

“We first met BGF back in 2012 and since then have been getting to know the team and how it operates. Now is the right time to bring on board a minority investor.

“BGF’s funding will help us pursue new opportunities in the market faster than we would otherwise have been able to do, without losing control of the business.”

Paddy Graham, BGF investor, added: “Walker is one of the leaders in its field, having built a strong heritage and long-standing customer relationships. Having known the business for a number of years, we’ve seen the team successfully scale up its operations and customer base and break into the space market.

“There are significant opportunities for Walker to expand its capacity further in both existing and in new markets. We’re delighted to be helping the team capitalise on this.”

The investment in Walker brings the total BGF funding in Scottish businesses to more than £200m. Its portfolio of growing companies includes Campion Homes, Bar Soba, Keenan Recycling and M Squared Lasers.

BGF provides patient capital to businesses with revenues typically between £5m and £100m in exchange for a minority, non-controlling stake. BGF invests exclusively in small and mid-sized firms headquartered in the UK and Ireland, and is in the top ten most active investors globally.

Meanwhile, Maven Property, the private equity and property manager, has raised £4.6m to fund the development of two residential property sites in Renfrew and Clackmannan in conjunction with Scottish housebuilder Ambassador Homes.

The sites have planning consent for the development of 94 private houses and 35 affordable homes and groundworks are underway at both locations with forecast total sales value of £20.6m.

Maven raised the capital via a £1.6m equity fundraise from its UK-wide ‘Investor Partners’ co-investor network, and a bank development loan of £3m.

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