Regain secures support to keep growing

A PLASTIC recycling company which is based in Yorkshire’s former mining heartland is gearing up for growth after securing extra investment.

Regain Polymers' Castleford site

Regain Polymers will receive £2.5m of new equity finance from its owner, Chamonix Private Equity. The company has also been awarded £10m of new debt finance facilities with Leumi ABL, the asset-based lending subsidiary of Bank Leumi (UK). Regain, which is based in Castleford, West Yorkshire, was acquired by Chamonix in 2011 from global packaging giant Linpac. The sale led to a programme of investment in new equipment, which has enabled Regain to develop more polymer compounds. The business operates a 50,000 tonne capacity site, and launched its new product development laboratory in early 2014. The new lab allows Regain to offer product development services for its client base.

Martin Marron, the chief executive of Regain, said: “We are delighted to have secured this additional investment from Chamonix which will enable us to continue to expand and enhance the capacity, capability and reliability of our manufacturing plant. We aim to grow and accelerate our new product development programme, to remain a leader in our sector. The new facility will enable us to provide additional research staff and specialist laboratory equipment, allowing us to continue to innovate at a pace in the development of high specification compounds, for a wide range of applications from available recycled materials. Our employees and customers will take assurance from our investors’ confidence in Regain. Suppliers will also take comfort from our strengthened balance sheet.”

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Mr Marron said Regain had invested heavily in its research and development laboratories over the last few years.

“This (investment) gives us the opportunity to develop the products even further,’’ he added.

Regain, which has 120 staff, achieved turnover of around £31m last year.

“We expect to grow that year on year,’’ Mr Marron added. “Up here in Yorkshire we have got some of the best expertise, with very high staff retention.”

He said there was an industry-wide shortage of engineering expertise, which Mr Marron believes is partly due to the decline of traditional apprenticeship in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He said a radical sea change was needed to ensure the UK becomes a pinnacle of engineering excellence.

Mr Marron acknowledged that some parts of the private equity industry have received a bad press. Critics have accused private equity of predatory asset-stripping and loading companies with debt.

“Our guys don’t work like that,’’ said Mr Marron. “Chamonix are very much involved in the business and in it for the long term. It’s good for the employees because they feel a lot more secure.”

Andrew Hartley, a Chamonix partner, said: “This investment demonstrates our confidence in Regain and in the wider polymer manufacturing sector.”

Mr Hartley said he wanted Regain to increase its capacity and grow as a business.

“Standing still isn’t an option. You’ve got to move forward,’’ he added.

He said Regain had been in an “unloved corner” of the Linpac group, and the company had enjoyed significant growth under private equity ownership.

Martin Risman, the Leumi ABL regional sales director, said he was delighted to be providing a facility to Regain.