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Case Study: Keats Engineering Ltd

Published: June 2013

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Back to front: John Ellis, Finance Yorkshire Portfolio Manager, Grahame Lunt, Finance Yorkshire Investment Manager, Guy Nottingham, Operations Director at Keats Engineering

The Company

Established a decade ago, Keats Engineering Ltd designs, manufactures, installs, services and operates materials handling machinery.

The company, based in Normanton, West Yorkshire, has a particular expertise in coal processing equipment.

The Challenge

Operations Director Guy Nottingham said: “There is a lot of coal in eastern Europe and therefore a lot of mines and tips.

“We were looking to partner with a Canadian company which owned two mines and a tip out there but we needed to find out how expensive it would be for us to set up a coal washing plant and how much the tip would yield.

“It turned out there was more coal on the tip than in the two underground mines combined so it was going to be a very worthwhile project to get involved in.

“However, we needed to fund a £1.5 million wash plant and did not have the finance for all the necessary equipment. We could manufacture some of it ourselves but needed to buy in some components like centrifuges and motors.”

The Solution

A £75,000 Business Loan from Finance Yorkshire was provided to Keats Engineering.

“The Finance Yorkshire funding helped us purchase those items to fund the Ukraine project,” said Guy. “We would’ve struggled without it.

“We’ve taken on ten additional staff in the last six months, too, recruiting some of the best tip management, coal processing and chemical engineers in our industry.”

The Investment Rationale

Finance Yorkshire Investment Manager Grahame Lunt said: “The investment gave Keats the additional working capital the company needed to take on and complete the successful project in the Ukraine, as well as expand the team by creating more jobs in the region.” 

Future Expectations

Added Guy: “This project was the first time we’ve manufactured and operated in partnership and we’re now looking to get involved in similar projects where we install and operate the coal washing plant on the company’s site and then take a share of the profits.

“Looking ahead, we want to continue to expand into new worldwide markets. There are several other opportunities for us to continue to explore in the Ukraine and we are also looking at projects in Australia and the US.”

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Editors Notes…

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