Dec 13, 2011 0
Low carbon technology company Ashwoods Automotive has secured £2.6 million of private equity funding in a deal that should see its headcount grow by 20 per cent.
The Exeter-based business is seeking to grow its market share in the production of components for hybrid and electric vehicles.
The investment, which has come from unnamed individuals with a background in the automotive sector, sees Jeremy Ellison join the firm’s board as finance director.
The funding will be invested in developing new products and services, in particular in recruiting skilled staff to help the business develop new lines for electric and hybrid vehicles.
It is estimated that the firm’s current 25 strong workforce will grow by 20 per cent.
Managing director Mark Roberts said: “We are delighted to have completed this deal as it sets us up to deliver our growth plan. The investment will accelerate the commercialisation of our development portfolio and our expansion into new markets, as well as allowing us to build on our success to date in the hybrid vehicle market.”
The company, which won the prize for Innovation of the Year at the recent Western Morning News Business Awards, has already developed a hybrid drive system which combines diesel and electric power to achieve its environmental objectives without impacting on the residual value of a vehicle.
During tests by CENEX – the UK’s first centre of excellence for low carbon and fuel cell technologies – the Ashwoods hybrid reduced CO2 emissions and fuel costs by between 15 and 25 per cent and, in the urban drive cycle, by as much as 33 per cent.
Ashwoods has already supplied more than 200 hybrid vans to the country’s largest commercial fleets and has a further 500 vehicle ordered for 2012.
Its product development has previously been supported by the Government’s Technology Strategy Board.
John Laughlin, the TSB’s low-carbon-vehicles programme manager, said: “We have been impressed with Ashwoods’ growth over recent years and are delighted to see their hard work and innovation being rewarded.”
The funding deal saw the firm advised by private equity specialist Matt Stoate, from Foot Anstey.
Mr Ellison said: “The structuring of this deal required a private equity specialist and we were delighted to be able to work with an experienced South West based solicitor in Matt Stoate, who understands the needs of these types of transactions.”