Prodrive Composites obtains $9.35 million investment

John Weston, former CEO of BAE Systems, will join the company as a non-executive chairman.

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UK-based engineering firm Prodrive Composites has secured a £6 million ($9.35 million) growth capital investment from Business Growth Fund (BGF, London). The Milton-Keynes- business has seen significant growth in the past two years with new contracts in the automotive and aerospace sectors. The company recently announced it had won projects worth more than £5 million ($8 million) on four new British sports cars.

Prodrive Composites employs nearly 200 people and sales hit £13 million ($20 million) last year and are on course to grow to more than £15 million ($23 million) at the end of this financial year. In the past 18 months, the business has achieved significant capacity improvements, reducing the cycle time from raw material to finished parts from an average of six to eight weeks down to two weeks.

As part of the investment, John Weston joins the company as non-executive chairman. Weston has spent 32 years in the aerospace and defense industry, concluding as CEO of BAE Systems. He now works to support a number of small companies in the high technology and manufacturing fields including as chairman of Torotrak and FibreCore. BGF’s Ian Downing joins the board as non-executive director and James Syrotiuk as board observer.

“This is an exciting time in the composites industry and for Prodrive Composites,” said Dominic Cartwright, managing director of Prodrive Composites. “Demand is growing and we are well placed to service this. As a junior partner in the business, BGF brings both investment and an external perspective and we are very much looking forward to being able to call on their support as we continue to grow.”

“We are also delighted to welcome John Weston to our board,” he added. “John’s knowledge, contacts and experience will prove invaluable as we look to move the business into its next stage of growth.”

 “The demand for carbon fiber composites is on a clear upwards trajectory and Prodrive Composites has the legacy, ambition and customer base to really capitalize on that,” said Ian Downing, investment director for BGF. “We are looking forward becoming a junior stakeholder in the business, alongside Prodrive Holdings.”