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05/06/2013

Merthyr business shows real signs of growth

A Merthyr Tydfil signage company whose customer base includes Barratt Homes, Cadw, Darlows, Peter Alan and Taylor Wimpey as well as the NHS is expanding thanks to a six-figure loan from Finance Wales.

1st Signs & Graphics Ltd (1st Signs), which is based on the town’s Cyfarthfa Industrial Estate, has used the loan to purchase new printing equipment to increase its production capacity as well as the range of services it provides.

The company has a loyal client base throughout South, East and West Wales and now plans to win new business in the property and construction sectors in addition to its existing markets.

1st Signs undertakes small, large and one-off projects for clients. It can also provide fitting and project management services and plans to develop this side of its business as part of its expansion.

Managing Director Terry Veale is excited about the company’s future potential: “We’ve built up a reputation for producing high quality signs, often to exacting specifications and tight timescales. Our clients like our local service, so our employees play a critical role in our success and we invest heavily in their training.”

The company, which is the main signage supplier to Barratt Homes and Taylor Wimpey in South Wales, also provides a full board service for over 120 local estate agencies. It also designs and prints shop and office signage; vehicle livery; sports-ground advertising as well as banners in a range of materials.

“The new equipment we’ve purchased with Finance Wales’ loan has enabled us to increase our capacity and improve our quality. We can now undertake larger, more profitable projects and can also expand the property and construction signage part of our business. The new equipment will help us significantly improve our cost base as we can reduce our reliance on suppliers,” Veale continued.

In addition to funding 1st Signs’ new equipment purchase, Finance Wales has structured its investment to provide an injection of working capital which will enable the company purchase any stock it needs to satisfy new orders.

Sam Macalister-Smith, Investment Executive at Finance Wales, said: “1st Signs is a trusted and established local business. They know their market very well and tailor their service to suit customers’ needs. Their customer retention is impressive thanks to the quality of their work and focused approach to customer service.

“Terry and his business partner, Anthony Roberts continue to have a long-term vision for the company and this is backed up by a robust business plan. Finance Wales’ loan has provided the capital to purchase a piece of equipment which will be key to the company’s future expansion. We’ve also provided the working capital it will need to satisfy new orders.”

Finance Wales’ investment in 1st Signs and Graphics came from the £150 million Wales JEREMIE Fund.