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£1.8m funding boost for Black Country firm and its revolutionary new carbon fibre

By Simon Penfold | Business | Published:

An innovative Black Country engineering firm is set to take on the world with its next-generation carbon fibre after securing a £1.8 million investment.

From left: Giovanni Finocchio, investment director at Midven, Simon Price, managing director at CFP Composites and Sean Hutchinson, senior manager, VC Solutions, British Business Bank

CFP Composites, in Dudley, has developed a revolutionary new composite material that is both ultra-lightweight and heat resistant up to 1,500C, and it is attracting growing interest from the aerospace, energy and rail industries.

As a result, the company is receiving £750,000 of Midlands Engine Investment Fund money, through venture capital firm Midven, alongside a further £1,078,000 from private investor network, Growthdeck.

The £1.8m will allow CFP to roll out its industrial carbon fibre panels around the world.

The firm, based at a 28,000 sq ft factory in Dudley, has developed a time-and cost-efficient automated process which produces zero waste and provides a 50 per cent reduction in costs compared to current processes.

Simon Emary, head of investment at Growthdeck, said: “As soon as I visited the firm’s West Midlands production facility, I could see CFP has the potential to take a great British engineering innovation to a truly global market. Our investors obviously agreed, pledging over £1m in record time.”

Unlike any other form of carbon fibre, its finished panels are heat resistant to 1,500 degrees centigrade for up to four hours. It is this feature, combined with the panels ultra-light weight, that is driving substantial end user demand across a range of industries including aeronautical, rail and energy. CFP says it will use the new funding to accelerate sales and marketing activity across these sectors.

Simon Price, managing director at CFP Composites, said: “We are excited and privileged to have received this investment from both Midven and Growthdeck. This will have a vast impact on the business, allowing us to both expand in employee size and give us continuing capacity to create ground-breaking products.”

Surjit Kooner, director at Midven, said: “We believe CFP is a true Midlands engineering success story and Midven is excited to support them in its growth. The company has developed an innovative range of carbon fibre products based on a revolutionary production process. CFP’s lightweight materials combined with fire resistance capabilities offers customers a significantly improved performance at substantially lower lifetime costs.”

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Ken Cooper, managing director at the British Business Bank which runs the Midlands Engine Investment Fund, added: “Using this equity investment from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund, CFP will be able to access valuable market opportunities – showcasing British products on an international stage. Supporting businesses and helping them grow, resulting in a positive impact on the local and national economy, is a key part of the MEIF’s remit.”

Simon Emary, head of investment at Growthdeck, said: “As soon as I visited the firm’s West Midlands production facility, I could see CFP has the potential to take a great British engineering innovation to a truly global market. Our investors obviously agreed, pledging over £1m in record time.”

Paul Brown, a board member at the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The Black Country LEP is delighted that CFP has received significant investment via MEIF. The Midlands Engine Investment Fund aims to support businesses like CFP to be able to develop so that they can continue to contribute to economic growth within the Black Country, and wider region.

“Investment such as this demonstrates that the Black Country is a great place to do business and that the Midlands is a thriving environment for business to flourish.”

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

Simon Penfold

By Simon Penfold
Business Editor - @SPenfold_star

Business Editor based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton, looking for stories big & small.

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