New jobs at Mersey brake disc maker

A Liverpool city region maker of brake discs for high performance supercars has seen headcount rise by 60% in 2021 and says more new high value jobs are on the way. Tony McDonough reports

Surface Transforms
From left, Jeff Cummins (AFM), Michael Cunningham and David Bundred (Surface Transforms) and Paul Humphray (AFM)

 

Specialist Merseyside high performance brake disc manufacturer Surface Transforms (ST) says it will create new jobs in 2021 after growing its workforce by 60% in 2021.

ST is based at Image Business Park in Knowsley and makes carbon fibre reinforced ceramic brake discs for high performance cars and is currently supplying them for the Aston Martin Valkyrie, a limited edition model that will cost buyers almost £3m.

Other customers have included Porsche, Ferrari and Nissan and in September the business, which is listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) revealed it had a forward order book worth £70m.

This has meant ST has had to commit to a significant upgrade of its production facility. To fund this expansion, in January this year it raised £18m in a new share placing. And it also secured a £1m loan from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority via the £20m Flexible Growth Fund.

ST announced the loan agreement to the stock exchange in March but now it has announced that it has drawn down the cash to investment in its manufacturing plant. One of the Flexible Growth Fund is to be a catalyst for job creation. Over the past year ST has grown its workforce from 50 to 80 people.

As it ramps up production for a number of its customers in 2022 the business will need to further add to its workforce. Chairman David Bundred said: “Over the years we have received whole-hearted  support from a variety of partners across the Liverpool city region.

“Having previously secured funding support through AFM/MSIF, we were delighted when our contact within the Business Growth Team at Knowsley Council, suggested applying to them for this loan support.”

The £20m Flexible Growth Fund was established in January 2020, when Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram launched a £75m Business Growth Package. Liverpool business funding provide MSIF manages the fund through its Alliance Fund Managers (AFM) trading arm.

AFM investment manager Jeff Cummins, added: “It has been great to be able to support a business in such a positive way, bearing in mind the difficulties that many businesses have had to overcome over the last 18 months. We look forward to seeing Surface Transforms grow with its increased production capacity.

“We hope that more Liverpool city region based businesses, who are looking at growth to create new locally-based jobs, consider bringing forward their plans to take advantage of the Super-Deduction for capital expenditure announced within the 2021 Budget. If they do, support through this fund is available’.”

Aston Martin Valkyrie
Just 85 Aston Martin Valkyries will be made, each costing almost £3m

 

On Tuesday this week ST issued a trading update to the stock exchange revealing it would miss its 2021 revenue targets – sending its shares falling more than 7%. This was due to delays upscaling it production capacity at Knowsley. However, the revenues are delayed not lost and the company is confident it will make up the ground in 2022.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram also said: “When I launched my £75m Business Growth Package in 2019, it was to enable ambitious local businesses, such as Surface Transforms, to grow, and to attract innovative and expanding new businesses to our city region.

“I didn’t want us to rest on our laurels – at the time we were the fastest growing region in the country – but to keep pushing to do better. That desire to keep doing better is what drives successful companies such as Surface Transforms.”

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