Based in Pelsall, West Midlands, Coopers Carpentry undertakes carpentry and joinery contracts for major construction firms such as Bouygues Thomas Vale, Wimpey and Keir. It has a good history, being established in 1988 by the MD, Paul Cooper, and has worked on prestigious and large projects during that time.
Coopers was introduced to Ludgate by their accountant at the end of 2013 when its bankers were beginning to apply pressure for repayment of its borrowing. This was driven by internal bank policy towards the construction sector, which had suffered heavily during the recession.
Steve Grice of Ludgate Finance, working with Paul and the accountant, took the time to understand the business and the local market and could see that the business stood on the brink of a number of opportunities. Whilst the future looked bright, growth was being constrained.
"I could see there was a good business here, with a good management, but it was struggling with the constraints of its existing funding structure" said Steve. "It was clear that for the business to grow it needed both working capital and to move away from traditional funding".
After doing due diligence Ludgate arranged a peer-to-peer loan through ThinCats which allowed the business to repay the bank and gave the extra working capital to take on new contracts and grow the business.
"The new loan allowed me to get on with the task of running the business rather than having to juggle cashflow or worry about the bank" said Paul, "Although Ludgate monitored the businesses regularly to make sure everything was OK, their approach was very much that of the old-fashioned bank manager that used to be here to help".
Throughout the period of the loan, Coopers made all repayments in full and on time and the business has thrived to the point where they have recently refinanced back to a (different) mainstream bank, repaying the peer-to-peer loan in full.
Paul said, "I'm very grateful for the help that Ludgate gave throughout the process. Steve has helped us to expand and take the business to the next level".
Steve said, "This really shows the power of peer-to-peer lending; it's a real alternative to more traditional funding lines, but is often the first step in a longer funding process."