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Knight Warner secures investment to fund growth

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Knight Warner Limited, the Chesterfield-based manufacturer of process automation equipment, has secured a significant investment package from Enterprise Ventures, Turning Point Angel Investors from Nottingham and the company’s management team.

The investment will be used to fund its growth programme.

Sheffield-based dealmakers Castle Square Corporate Finance and the legal team at the Sheffield office of Freeth Cartwright advised the management team on all aspects of the transaction.

Knight Warner is a UK leader in the field of industrial automation.

It manufactures conveying, handling and robotic solutions for a wide range of sectors including food, beverage, canning, steel, power, water and pharmaceuticals.  Established in 1998, it operates from premises in Chesterfield and in Wyboston, near Cambridge.

The company has recently boosted its export business by clinching a £1.1m order from Melbourne-based Icon Equipment International to make robotic bottle handling and control equipment for two large dairies in Australia, and has just completed a multi-million pound project installing a plant for Nampak, a major global packaging manufacturer, to enable Nampak to handle the transfer of its lightweight Infini plastic bottles from its production facility straight into a major dairy site.

Kevin Parkin, the former chief executive at Davy Markham who joined Knight Warner earlier this year as managing director, is investing in the business alongside its founding shareholders Dave Knight, the commercial director and Colin Powell, technical director.

Kevin Parkin said:

“This investment will launch the company on its next stage of rapid growth and ensure that we are able to invest in resources to meet our strategic objectives.

“The continuous development of our skills base, together with the penetration of new international markets, are key to achieving our future objectives.”

Dave Knight said:

“This new investment in the business will give it the boost that our team deserves, after driving through the recession with our technical expertise at the fore.

“We can now look at further ground-breaking developments in terms of R&Dactivity, which will be led by our Technical Director Colin Powell.”

 Paul Betts, who led the investment for Enterprise Ventures, said:

“Knight Warner is currently experiencing record levels of orders as a result of earlier significant investment in its patented technology and its development facility in Wyboston.

“This new funding round will allow the company o build its infrastructure, invest in new products and pursue its strategy of becoming the UK’s leading handling solution provider and a major international player.”

Tom Mawhood of Turning Point said:

“An investment in Knight Warner is right in the sweet spot of the investors I work with – this is a manufacturing business with excellent technical and design facilities in the heart of the East Midlands with market leading products and solutions exportable across the world.

“The strong management team has provided great confidence in the ability of the business to deliver on its growth prospects.”

Kevan Shaw, director at Castle Square Corporate Finance, said:

“Knight Warner is a great advert for manufacturing in the region, being a good example of what can be achieved by providing design-led bespoke solutions to assist its clients.

“We are delighted to have assisted them in this fundraising.”

Adrian Hackett, partner at Freeth Cartwright, said:

“This is a great example of how institutional and private money can be structured tax efficiently to help grow a world-class technology business.

“It was a pleasure to work with everyone on this project.”

Patrick Curtis at Laytons provided legal advice, and Ian Robinson from MaxAim carried out financial due diligence on behalf of Enterprise Ventures and Turning Point.

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Securing investment for growth

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