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Escalator business secures BGF backing

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A £12m-turnover Halifax escalator installation business, which has worked on projects at Anfield football stadium and Paddington Station, has secured a £6.4m investment from BGF to support its expansion in the UK and Europe.

Northern Escalator Installations, founded by managing director Kevin Johnson in 1999, installs, refurbishes and repairs escalators.

The company employs a team of 85 precision engineers and technical staff with recent wok including escalator installation at Anfield football stadium in Liverpool and Paddington Station, as part of the London Crossrail Underground. The group generated revenues of more than £12m in 2017.

Northern Escalators has won growing number of contracts in mainland Europe in recent times, and established a second base there earlier in 2017. It now has offices in both Germany and Sweden.

The funding will be used to expand the business' services which, in addition to installation and maintenance, include storage, design, build-up, transportation and modernisation.

Kevin Johnson, of Northern Escalators, said: "We have attracted and retained a first-class team of engineers, which alongside our focus on quality, has helped us build a solid reputation and take on very technical projects.

"BGF's long-term minority investment will allow us to press forward with our growth plans while retaining control of the business. We look forward to working with the BGF team, and welcoming Stuart Black to the board."

As part of the investment, Stuart Black joins the company as non-executive chairman following an introduction by BGF. Black is also chairman of BGF-backed TCL, an estate management business, and has been supporting its expansion across the UK. Gareth Judson joins the board as operations director.  

Chris Boyes, from BGF, added: "Kevin and his team have built a business of significant scale in a niche but growing area. Their expertise has enabled the business to become the UK's leading provider of escalator services, with significant scope for further growth, both in the UK and Europe. We are delighted to be supporting the company as they further expand their operations."

The investment was led for BGF by Chris Boyes, Rob Johnson and Richard Taylor. 

Legal advice to BGF was provided by Steven Millward and Jessica Fielden of Schofield Sweeney. Northern Escalator Installations was advised by Andy Haigh and Tim Brind of BHP (corporate finance) and Jonathan Simms, Alex Birch and Kaira Clarehugh of Clarion.