Formaplex, a Portsmouth based UK engineering company which designs and manufactures tooling and lightweight components for the automotive, aerospace, defence and motor sports markets, today announced it is investing £3 million over the next year, to further increase capacity with a new 100,000 sq ft factory, expand its current manufacturing facilities and invest in new manufacturing technology. The support of its private equity backer Dunedin has allowed Formaplex to invest a total of £14 million in new facilities and equipment over the last five years.
Dunedin, the UK mid-market private equity house backed the management buyout of Formaplex in December 2007. With this financial and operational support behind it, Formaplex has become a UK market-leading specialist within its industry and has experienced a fourfold increase in its growth over the last five years. Its turnover has increased from £9.4 million in 2009 to £38.7 million in 2014 and employee numbers have grown by over six times from 51 to 300 over this period.
Currently operating from three state of the art UK manufacturing facilities in Hampshire (Havant, Cosham and Horndean), which collectively span over 140,000 sq.ft, Formaplex offers a fully integrated service from tool design, prototyping and manufacture, through to final component manufacture, finishing and delivery. It serves a blue-chip customer base and in 2010 won the machining and assembly contract for the MoD Foxhound vehicles. The new facility, expected to be located in the West Midlands area due to its proximity to key UK customers, will allow Formaplex to further increase manufacturing capacity as well as its range of services.
Formaplex’s growth has been positively impacted by renewed confidence in the UK’s automotive sector and increased international demand for UK premium car brands. This month, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (“SMMT”) recorded that 2.47 million new cars were registered in the UK in 2014, a 9.3% increase on the previous year, following improved consumer confidence in the economy and growing demand for the latest automotive models. The UK’s premium car industry is currently thriving, with Rolls Royce, Bentley and BMW recently posting record sales for 2014.
Formaplex has also benefited from regulatory drivers such as the call for reduced emissions and improved fuel efficiency. This in turn has increased the use of the lightweight materials and components that it supplies to vehicle and aircraft manufacturers.
In July 2013, Formaplex was placed at number 45 in the The Sunday Times’ International Track 200 ranking of Britain’s private companies with the fastest growing overseas sales.