Precision engineer secures £4m funds injection

From left: Gary Walker, Paddy Graham (BGF investor) and Mark Walker. Picture: Peter Sandground
From left: Gary Walker, Paddy Graham (BGF investor) and Mark Walker. Picture: Peter Sandground
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Glasgow-headquartered Walker Precision Engineering has secured a £4 million investment to fuel its growth ambitions.

The firm – a high-precision component manufacturer – plans to expand its operations in the UK and mainland Europe following the funding injection from the Business Growth Fund (BGF).

From its premises in Glasgow, Basildon and Poland, the family-owned business manufactures and assembles complex parts for the aerospace, defence and industrial sectors. Founded in 1979, the company is run by brothers Gary and Mark Walker and has a current headcount in excess of 250.

The funding will allow the firm to invest in specialist machinery and increase capacity. It has experienced an increase in demand from existing and new customers, particularly in the burgeoning space market.

The company has been forging closer links with the International Space Agency and academic institutions, and has been involved in the European Galileo satellite system. In addition to further investment at its Glasgow headquarters, Walker will move its Basildon operations to a new purpose-built facility and double the capacity of its manufacturing facility in Poland.

Managing director Mark Walker said: “Walker has grown steadily over the years through our deep commitment to investing in technical expertise and innovation.

“We first met BGF back in 2012 and since then have been getting to know the team and how it operates. Now is the right time to bring on board a minority investor.

“BGF’s funding will help us pursue new opportunities in the market faster than we would otherwise have been able to do, without losing control of the business.”

As part of the group’s expansion plans, Chris Melrose has joined the business as non-executive chairman, following an introduction by BGF.

Melrose is a non-executive director of Ralph Martindale and of ADS, the aerospace, defence and security trade association. Previous posts include that of managing director of a General Electric JV, vice president of Bombardier Aerospace and latterly non-executive chairman of Daher Aerospace.

Paddy Graham, BGF investor, said: “Walker is one of the leaders in its field, having built a strong heritage and long-standing customer relationships. Having known the business for a number of years, we’ve seen the team successfully scale up its operations and customer base and break into the space market.

“There are significant opportunities for Walker to expand its capacity further in both existing and new markets. We’re delighted to be helping the team capitalise on this.”

The investment in Walker brings the total BGF funding in Scottish businesses to more than £200m. Its portfolio of companies includes Campion Homes, Bar Soba, Keenan Recycling and M Squared Lasers, which has been more than doubling its revenues every two years since BGF’s investment in 2012.

BGF provides capital to businesses with revenues typically between £5m and £100m in exchange for a minority, non-controlling stake. It invests exclusively in small and medium-sized firms.