Financier helps get mothballed £10m recycling plant off the ground with £2.2m boost

A LEEDS financier has stepped in to provide a £2.2 m funding boost which is expected to get a mothballed eco-friendly waste recycling plant fully operational by October – creating at least 30 new jobs and generating a £10m turnover.

Graphite Resources, at Blaydon in Newcastle, was bought by holding company Catfoss last year, three years after the plant was shelved when its bank Lehman Bros collapsed.

Access Commercial Finance, based in Leeds, has provided the funding package in multiple phases to refinance the plant and the machinery that is needed to complete the process.

When it is fully functional, the waste management plant will use autoclaves to sterilise the waste, meaning it doesn’t have to go to landfill and can be used for other purposes such as building or biofuel, alleviating carbon emissions and some of the need for land remediation.

Despite its sound business ambitions and the advantages of the recycling process, Graphite Resources struggled to find alternative funding when Lehman Bros collapsed in 2013.

The plant was mothballed until it was purchased by holding company Catfoss, which has extensive experience in renewables and could use its expertise to search for the right finance provider.

Nick King, financial director of Graphite Resources, said: “It was difficult to find the right asset finance because of the complexity of our industry, and the waste management process that we use. We needed a financier that can gain a better understanding of complicated, almost niche industries like ours and that’s what we’ve found with Access. There is a massive amount of specialist equipment needed to facilitate the process and the plant, so consequently it requires a huge sum of asset finance and Access seem to have the specialist knowledge to understand this.

“When the plant eventually closed, and 70 jobs were lost in 2013, it was a hard blow for the local community, so its regeneration will be welcomed by the Blaydon area. As soon as the plant is completely up and running, it will create at least 30 jobs.”

Matt Haycox from Access Commercial Finance says: “This is just the kind of deal we love. It is a site with immeasurable potential that just needed a financier with enough specialist knowledge and creativity to recognise that. It’s really exciting to be involved with a project that has benefits on so many levels, from profit growth, and its ecological merits to job creation in its local community.”