Halifax-based Trailblazer company attracts major new investment

The UK’s most technologically-advanced manufacturer of high-performance recycled plastic products has shown there is nothing artificial about its success by attracting £2.5m in new investment.

i-plas, in which Foresight Group is an investor, based in Hopwood Lane, Halifax, has received the sum from Foresight Group, the country’s leading green venture capital investor, whose headquarters are in Sevenoaks, Kent.

The injection makes the new i-plas management team much better placed to achieve its aim of almost quadrupling turnover, from the current £4m to £15m, in the next four years.

i-plas manufactures a wide range of recyclable products to customer specifications, which offer potentially significant cost and performance advantages over those made from many traditional materials. Its output is produced from waste plastic that would otherwise be destined for landfill.

The company sells to sectors including the construction, industrial, equestrian and marine industries, as well as consumers directly. Its output includes outdoor and street furniture (such as seats, benches and litter bins), plastic lumber, and a range of products for the building and construction industries.

In addition to performing better than alternatives - such as concrete, steel and wood - in specific applications, i-plas output is maintenance-free. It also reduces whole life cost by over 50 per cent and producing each tonne of the company’s product saves 1.66 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, compared with manufacturing a similar amount of concrete.

i-plas chief executive Grahame Hall said: "We’ve been at the forefront of mixed plastic recycling since our formation in 1999, with our success has being due to a unique waste processing technology, which we developed and continue to enhance.

"We’ll use most of the Foresight money to invest in new equipment and expand our capacity, as the market grows and demand for our products increases.”

Foresight invests in environmental infrastructure, including that relating to recycling and biomass, plus solar power in continental Europe and the UK. It was named Venture Capital Trust of the Year last month in the Investor All Stars Venture Capital Awards.

Giles Whitman, Foresight’s representative on the i-plas board, said: "The company has made significant progress since our initial investment in 2008 and is now at the forefront of plastics recycling in the UK. This new investment will enable the experienced management team here to drive the business even further forward and help it become a dominant force in the recycled building products market.

"The deal is another example of Foresight’s continuing role in developing the infrastructure the UK needs to meet its landfill diversion and recycling targets, and we look forward to providing further funding to continue i-plas’ expansion in the future.”

Mr Hall is part of a management team which took over at i-plas earlier this year. He is an experienced chief executive of public companies and private equity businesses, and joined the organisation after three decades with blue-chip organisations, including mining giant RTZ, leading oil producer Shell and building products company Hepworth.

He has been joined in the new management team by chief operating officer Howard Waghorn, financial director Alan Wilson, and sales and marketing director Gavin Wray.

Mr Waghorn is an accomplished director in the manufacturing and recycling industries, with over 20 years’ business experience; Mr Wilson is a chartered accountant who has spent more than two decades in financial and general management; and Mr Wray brings a similar length of sales and management experience in UK and overseas markets.

ENDS

Notes to Editor

Media Contacts
For further information please contact Elaine Lines at Go Publicity on tel: 0113 394 4585 or mobile: 07971 130343 or email: elaine@gopublicity.com or Grahame Hall at i-plas on tel: 0845 4599 352.

About Foresight Group
For further information about Foresight Group, please visit www.foresightgroup.eu