Applied Composites Secures £10m Investment from LDC to Accelerate Growth

Icon Polymer Group, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of engineered polymer products, has secured a £10m investment from its private equity partner, LDC, to support its growth strategy.

The investment will enable the business, which will subsequently rebrand to Applied Composites Group, to accelerate a number of strategic initiatives to increase revenues in its core sectors of aerospace and rail.

The announcement follows a period of significant sales success, growth and technical innovation at the 150-year old hi-tech manufacturing group. In the past year alone, it has signed a series of major contracts with blue chip organisations including Rolls Royce, created over 90 new roles, and is currently executing a multi-million pound expansion and refurbishment of its manufacturing facility in Retford, Nottinghamshire.

As part of the rebranding Icon Polymer Ltd will become icon Aerospace Technology. Silentbloc, an already well-established name and world-leader in vibration control technologies, will not change, while a new managing director is to be appointed to lead on its growth strategy in the transport sector.

Tim Pryce, CEO of Applied Composites Group, comments: “Over the last decade, the group has changed beyond recognition. We have invested heavily in research and development, technology, expertise and our manufacturing capability to create a business that is today genuinely recognised as a world leader in its field. The rebranding is recognition of that renewed focus and the evolution of our core capabilities.

“Through our ‘face2face engineering’ proposition, we have also pioneered a new way of doing business. Customers respect and value our expert, creative and agile approach to addressing their engineering challenges. Combined, it’s equated to growth and commercial success. But we’re far from done: our customers operate in fast moving and highly technical markets and to realise our full potential, we must continue to push ourselves forward at pace. The continuing support of LDC is crucial in helping us realise the full potential of the business at an exciting time for the group and its chosen markets.”

Rob Apollo, Investment Manager at LDC, said: “Demand for innovative polymer technology, specifically from the global aerospace and rail industries, continues to increase. Meanwhile, the group has successfully positioned itself at the forefront of these markets, investing in its people, culture and management capabilities. We believe exciting times lie ahead for the business and this latest investment is another signal of our support for the management team in driving further growth.”

Chris Hurley, Chief Executive of LDC, added: “The investment is a demonstration of our long term approach and flexible capital which allows us to support ambitious portfolio businesses at whatever stage of their investment lifecycle. It also underlines our appetite to invest in the UK’s specialist manufacturing and engineering sector, where we have significant expertise. Now more than ever, SMEs like Applied Composites need that confidence and reassurance from the investment community to step forward and implement their growth strategies, both domestic and international. We’re keen to show that our appetite to continue backing the ambitions of the UK’s small and mid-sized companies remains as strong as ever.”

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Icon Aerospace Technology is a world leader in highly engineered products utilising polymers which are used in sealing, containment, propulsion and protection systems worldwide.