Specialist prototype producer secures funding to grow business

Sussex-based Finecast Foundry specialises in the design and manufacture of prototypes for a variety of industries and customers, in both the UK and overseas.

Having already supplied aluminium parts, Finecast is now also producing copper and steel products and has purchased two sites in Littlehampton, from where the company operates its main foundry and a laboratory.

Finecast, which also runs a machine shop in Newhaven, has expanded to meet growing demand and has seen turnover increase from £700,000 fours years ago to a current figure of £6 million.

The company now manufacture parts for leading global automotive, defence, maritime and petrochemical customers.

The business was originally established 30 years ago and served the local community by manufacturing tools. It was purchased 12 years ago by current Managing Director Chris Gratton-Heatly and now employs 54 staff, including two doctors of metallurgy to assist with the development of products.

Its growth has been helped by support from NatWest, who arranged a commercial mortgage for the purchase of Finecast’s new premises, and Lombard, whose finance facilities have enabled the acquisition of assets such as machine tools, inspection equipment and a steel foundry.

Chris Gratton-Heatly said: “Finecast isn’t a typical manufacturing company – we’re in the business of quickly producing complex parts and we’re beginning to realise there’s a worldwide appeal.

“As a prototyping foundry, every design is a new concept and I think that’s reflective of the British attitude of being ingenious, creative and not saying no to a challenge. To succeed we need to be passionate, understand the business and persevere and we’ve got the machinery, the science and the people to ensure we do just that.

“NatWest have been partners with us since the early years and have always been a big help. We’ve grown the business around them and around Lombard, who have supported us in a number of ways.”

David Greenough, Senior Relationship Manager at NatWest, commented: “Finecast is an exciting business that’s growing all the time and we’ve been more than happy to play our part in its success.”

Doug Balaam Senior Relationship Manager at Lombard added: “It’s great to see such a shining example of UK manufacturing and it’s been a pleasure to work alongside Chris and his team to help them expand the business.”