Plastic card manufacturer draws £3.2m investment

cardsThames Card Technology (TCT), one of the UK’s largest plastic card manufacturers, has received a £3.2 million investment to acquire new manufacturing equipment and increase capacity and efficiency.

The Rayleigh, Essex-based business was founded in 1994 by MD, Paul Underwood, initially focusing on gift, loyalty and membership cards before expanding into the credit, debit and prepaid card market and achieving Visa and MasterCard accreditation in 2000. Its customers come from banking, retail, telecoms and ID and, in 2013, TCT manufactured over 175m cards, generating sales of £18m.

The investment came from the independent BGF Fund which invests in businesses with growth potential in return for a minority equity stake and a seat on the board for a BGF director. It is the company’s 14th investment in the manufacturing sector.

“After 19 years of building TCT and funding growth from our own cash proceeds, I took the decision with my senior team that it was time to secure an injection of equity finance so that we could go further, faster, to realise our growth ambitions,” said Paul Underwood.  “There are significant opportunities to go for in the next three years and we wanted to ensure that lack of finance did not hinder us from doing that.”

Andy Caffyn, the former CEO of Deloro Stellite Group and Avery Weigh-Tronix, will join the TCT board as non-executive chairman, BGF’s head of manufacturing Mark Bryant will also provide operational support and investment director Rory Pope will join the board as BGF’s representative.

Copyright Ken Hurst 2013

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About Ken Hurst

Ken Hurst began his career as a journalist in London over 30 years ago, working on a range of publications before moving on to weekly newspaper production in the newly-independent Zambia of the 1970s. He returned to the UK where his work included spells on newspapers and magazines, before moving to head up Norwich Union’s corporate affairs division. In the 1990s he moved on to freelance, co-own and publish the B2B audio magazine Sound and front the BBC radio Yesterday’s Papers programme. There followed six years as Business Editor at Britain’s biggest selling regional daily newspaper, The Eastern Daily Press, where he led an award-winning team and for whom he still writes a weekly socio/political comment column. Subsequently, he was Group Editorial Director at CBM, responsible for its UK and US magazine output – including The Manufacturer magazine – research-driven industry reports and live events content. Currently he is Contributing Editor at Works Management magazine publisher Findlay Media and Chairman of the consumer publishing house TNT Multimedia Ltd. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the British Association of Communicators in Business.
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