|26th June 2012|
UKSE Invests £400,000 In Sirus Automotive
The UK’s premier converter of compact ‘Drive From Wheelchair’ and ‘Wheelchair Passenger Up Front’ vehicles has set out a five year plan to dramatically expand its market share after securing a funding package comprising £400,000 from UK Steel Enterprise and £50,000 from Black Country Reinvestment Society (BCRS).
Sirus Automotive is based in Wednesbury in the West Midlands and currently employs over 70 people. Established in 2004, Sirus has since grown to be the market leader of compact wheelchair accessible vehicles for use by disabled drivers and passengers. Its five year plan is based on developing new products to boost and expand its market position.
Managing Director of Sirus, James Fraser explains the growth strategy. “The main thrust of our plan is to use the funding to expand and increase our product range. We figure very strongly in the small vehicle conversion market, and want to remain market leader by developing high quality products which offer a lower price point. A more affordable price will increase our sales substantially giving more wheelchair users the opportunity to drive or sit up front next to the driver as opposed to in the rear. We also want to move into converting medium and large vehicles to attract a slightly different customer base, i.e. taller/larger chair users and larger families. We are very confident that we can take our reputation for high quality and innovative design into those areas. Our confidence is even higher thanks to the positive support we have received from UK Steel & BCRS,” says James Fraser.
Regional Executive for UK Steel Enterprise, Allan Wood says the investment in Sirus marks one of the largest his company has made in the West Midlands this year, which is a testimony to the belief it has in the vehicle conversion company.
“Sirus Automotive has shown in the last eight years that its products meet customer needs and that demand for them is constantly based on high quality. The company has already achieved turnover approaching £10m in a relatively short time, however our decision to invest was based more around the directors’ longer term vision and future growth plans. We see a bright future for Sirus” says Allan Wood.
UK Steel Enterprise is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Steel. It provides business finance in amounts from £25,000 up to £750,000 to a variety of companies with the aim of encouraging business growth and job creation in areas affected by changes in the steel industry.
Chief Executive for BCRS, Paul Kalinauckas says, “Our sole purpose is to provide access to finance to enable businesses to grow and prosper. Sirus Automotive is a fantastic example of how a company investing in product development used non-bank lenders in order to expand. We are very pleased to have been able to play a part in helping such a long standing Midlands based manufacturing company and wish them all the success for the future.”
At a time when businesses are finding it hard to access finance James Fraser says the company chose UK Steel Enterprise and BCRS rather than other funders because of the holistic approach they took in dealing with Sirus.
“We did approach other providers but the Directors were very impressed with the empathy UK Steel and BCRS showed for our manufacturing abilities and our aims. They both offered us so much more than finance and they clearly left us feeling they would be long-term partners. The whole social responsibility ethos of the companies
gave us confidence that they want us to succeed and they will do whatever they can to help” said James Fraser.
As well as developing new products, Sirus intends to increase its presence in Europe. Sirus has been trading in France and Germany for over two years now through appointed distributors, with further distributors agreements set up in Holland, Switzerland and Norway.
Photo Caption – L-R Allan Wood of UK Steel Enterprise; Paul Kalinauckas of Black Country Re-Investment Society; Russell Venvil, Director of Sirus; Gary Evans, Production Manager Sirus and James Fraser, MD of Sirus inspect a newly converted vehicle about to leave the Wednesbury production line.