Field International Limited Case Study

Introduction

Field International, is a family owned company with facilities in the UK, Europe and Asia, they design and manufacture aircraft maintenance tooling, ground support equipment, military components and provide bespoke precision engineering.

Background

Inspire Professional Services started working with Field International in October 2012 at that time they were a business which had expanded significantly without the appropriate funding in place and their existing lenders were unable to provide any further funding.

As a manufacturing business focused on the aeronautical and defence sector they had seeked growth opportunities and as a result expanded significantly in 2010 to 2012 including setting up manufacturing facilities in China and Singapore. What became very evident was that the business was underfunded and could no longer support its contractual obligations with its customers, due to working capital constraints.

A major challenge was to help Field International secure new funding.

New funding plan for Field International

When Inspire started working with Field in October 2012 they prepared for them a three year business plan and financial forecast to enable them to have a clear strategy for future growth and understand the immediate and future funding requirements.

This then enabled Inspire to approach potential funders. This proved to be tremendously challenging as it became extremely difficult to raise the required funds from traditional sources. Consequently we considered innovative sources of funding and decided that as the company was a major employer for the local area we should approach the Dorset LEP for access to their Funding for Growth programme. We consequently agreed a £2.3m funding package with them. The deal needed central government approval and is the first time in the country that LEP funding has been used in this way. Inspire worked hard to build the LEP’s trust and this enabled them to support, what at the time, was quite an unusual deal. The LEP also saw the importance of supporting Field with a view to Dorset based suppliers of Field and their employees who would have suffered if Field did not continue to trade to the extent it had done so previously.

In addition to the funding Inspire were able to support the business in its working capital and cash flow management and also in the recruitment of Non-Executive Directors and the restructuring of their Board.

Hence this time the business has continued to trade and grow and 120 jobs have been saved. As an engineering and manufacturing company Inspire have also undertaken a full review of capital allowances and the ability to claim a significant research and development tax credit claim, which had been overlooked by their previous advisors.

Inspire have supported the business through a realignment exercise, looking at the structure of its overseas subsidiaries and providing insights at the monthly board meetings.
Field International values Inspire’s ongoing work in helping manage their working capital.

Inspire also act as the group’s auditors, co-ordinating the audit across China, Singapore and Hong Kong. Since taking on the audit in 2013 we have dealt with some issues overlooked by the previous auditors and worked with external advisors to value intellectual property.

The relationship and the success of it is, again, built on trust and delivery and robust advice. We have successfully worked with other advisors and funders to the business and ensured that the business is in a solid position to go forward.

Summary

In summary Inspire has provided a wide range of services to Field International from day to day compliance services to funding services. In the process of providing these services Inspire has added considerable value by stabilising the finances. The key difference for the Field team is that they see Inspire as trusted advisors as well as accountants.
Field are continuing to enjoy relationships with global blue chip companies such as Airbus, BAE Systems and Boeing.

Field now have a turnover of c£12 million after having taken major steps in improving their financial standing and performance after experiencing difficult trading conditions during 2012. The UK arm of the Field International Group returned to generating a profit during the year after a significant loss in the previous year. In addition to this, the company re-arranged its working capital funding lines and received £2.3m of loans from the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (DLEP).

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