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Roger Aust Talks About Our Industry

Roger Aust of Close Brothers Asset Finance finds our industry to be very switched on

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Close Brothers’ Business Barometer survey found out that the UK print industry, which includes those that produce wide-format print, is the most switched on sector it serves when it comes to being aware of alternative financing solutions

Creative funding for businesses

Every quarter Close Brothers Asset Finance conducts a cross-sector survey of SMEs called the ‘Business Barometer’ that asks a variety of questions on a wide range of issues.

The results from the latest Business Barometer show that the print industry, which includes those that produce wide-format print, is by a long way the most knowledgeable about the benefits of not only alternative forms of finance, but about asset finance specifically. To put this into context, when asked the question ‘have you heard of asset finance?’, over 72 percent of print businesses answered ‘yes’, compared to the cross-industry figure of 48 percent.

When asked the question ‘have you heard of asset finance?’, over 72 percent of print businesses answered ‘yes’

The gap gets even wider (74 percent to 46 percent) when companies are asked ‘do you have a good understanding of asset finance products such as hire purchase, leasing, and asset refinance?’

Having worked with small businesses in the print and graphics industry since the 1980s, these results are not surprising, but they are reassuring because it means our message about the benefits of asset finance is being heard. Our business was founded on funding Heidelberg printers, and we have always been consistent in our funding approach, making money available throughout all of the economic cycles.

Close Brothers Asset Finance was one of the few companies that continued to lend during recessions, including the early 90s and 2010, when solid businesses’ cash flow dried up. Our understanding of our industry and the sector we work in allows us to be confident in business owners and the value of the assets they utilise.

Helping customers

We were recently approached by Manchester Print Services (MPS), an existing customer with strong growth ambitions. A specialist wide-format and oversize print company, MPS offers a range of specialist display, signage, and POS printed products that are printed on a variety of substrates, including paper, board, canvas, glass, and plastic.

To meet growing demand, MPS was looking for additional finance to upgrade their main wide-format flatbed printing press, and to recruit additional staff to meet current and expected future demand.

With their commitment to safeguarding existing jobs and creating new roles, it was clear that MPS was eligible for a grant from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF). This grant, together with an additional Hire Purchase agreement, quickly led to the acquisition and installation of the required machinery, a process that was smooth and stress-free.

The end result is that MPS now has a machine with twice the capacity of the former machine, while the company is able to offer print on a wider range of formats and substrates. With the financial support in place, two existing technician posts were safeguarded and an additional job created.

Orders have also increased to the point where they are actively planning a move to larger premises in the coming months. The deal with MPS is just one example of many of how Close Brothers Asset Finance take a flexible and partnership-led approach when working with customers on funding solutions.

To find out more about the issues discussed in this article you can contact Close Brothers Asset Finance on 020 80030744 or visit www.closeasset.co.uk/print

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