Case Study - Bignall Group

Shildon based engineering firm Bignall Group approached the County Durham Growth Fund for support towards its expansion plans. The company outlined its desire to grow the Shildon Manufacturing brand and in particular the milling side of this business. To do so, a need for investment was identified to upgrade and expand the sub-contract machine shop.

Although already holding a presence in the market with one key customer, Shildon Manufacturing felt this new investment would allow them to increase capacity to take in more orders and also look to deliver cost efficiencies across current products, therefore putting the business in a stronger position to cement a sustainable future in County Durham.

The grant the company has secured from the County Durham Growth Fund will look to support the creation of eight new jobs across the business. Group Commercial Manager Mark Coatsworth said: “Whilst the projects we work on are always speculative, the grant received via the County Durham Growth Fund has allowed us to upgrade and expand our milling capability. Additionally, this helps us with our business vision to provide high quality parts, excellent customer service and good, honest local employment, the three foundations that our owner John Bignall is passionate we keep in everything that we do.”

Bignall Group is based at Dabble Duck Industrial Estate and was established in 1976. The group consists of three divisions, Shildon Manufacturing which provides subcontract precision engineering services, Cobtec toilet cubicle hardware, both of which were incorporated into the group in 1994, and Masterlube Systems, which designs and manufactures automated lubrication equipment and is the oldest division of the current group set up, dating back to the late 80s.

The County Durham Growth Fund is managed by Business Durham in partnership with UMi and is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). All successful grant applications are appraised by UNW LLP, an independent firm of Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers.

Sarah Slaven, Interim Managing Director at Business Durham, said: “Bignall Group is one of our most historic and well-established engineering companies so it’s great to see them expanding and creating jobs.”

Simon Allen, Investment Centre Director at UMi, said: “The County Durham Growth Fund was launched to help those flagship businesses that underpin our economy and with our support, Bignall Group is undertaking an ambitious expansion project which is creating eight skilled jobs in the area.”

John Healey, Corporate Finance Partner at UNW LLP, said: “It is encouraging to see the County Durham Growth Fund continuing to support the growth of established businesses and the creation of new jobs in the region.”

Mark Coatsworth in front of machine