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Employee numbers boost for Premier Licensing

Kevin Funnell and Ross Methven, Directors of Premier Licensing are pictured alongside Mark Canning, Senior Investment Manager at WhiteRock Capital Partners during a visit to Holywood Golf Club.
Kevin Funnell and Ross Methven, Directors of Premier Licensing are pictured alongside Mark Canning, Senior Investment Manager at WhiteRock Capital Partners during a visit to Holywood Golf Club.
Rebecca Kincade on June 30, 2015 - 7:15 am in News

Newtownards based Premier Licensing is to increase its employee numbers after securing a significant loan from the Growth Loan Fund to boost working capital.

Finance for the £50m Growth Loan Fund – which provides loans to established Northern Ireland SMEs seeking to access growth finance – has been provided by Invest Northern Ireland and private investor, Northern Ireland Local Government Officers’ Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC).

Premier Licensing is a manufacturer and distributor of crested golf accessories such as head covers, towels, gloves, balls and tees to the UK and European markets.

Kevin Funnell, director of Premier Licensing said: “When the company first started we targeted several golf courses in Northern Ireland but soon realised there was a much wider market in the UK and Ireland for our products. Our products are now available in the vast majority of top golf resorts across the UK and Ireland.

“To work alongside the golf club merchandise, we have secured a number of licenses with top Premier League clubs such as Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal to supply their logoed golf products. We are now selling directly to the club’s retail outlets as well as to the golf and gift markets.”

The company’s biggest year for growth has been capped with receiving the commission to produce the iconic St Bernard head-cover used by Northern Ireland’s very own Rory McIlroy.

Mr Funnell explained: “We are currently working with Nike to produce the head-cover which will be used in a huge promotional campaign this year. We are immensely proud to be able to work alongside the world’s number one golfer to create and launch this unique product which will reach a truly global audience.

“With this year’s Irish Open being held at Royal County Down we have seen an increase in sales particularly from customers in Northern Ireland. The event is becoming one of the most prestigious in the European Tour calendar and has brought a huge boost to tourism in Northern Ireland.”

Ross Methven, Co-director added: “The loan received will help us purchase new engraving and printing equipment as well as funding working capital. Over the next three years we plan to employ more members of staff as our business expands. The investment from WhiteRock Capital Partners has given us the chance to pursue a range of opportunities that have become available through our growing reputation, and we intend to make the most of it.”

Mark Canning, senior investment manager at WhiteRock Capital Partners said: “With the success of Irish golfers in recent years and the announcement that golf will be part of the next Olympic Games, this represents an exciting time for the sport.

“Having now been in operation over 15 years, Premier Licensing has evidenced strong organic growth via continued focus on product innovation to match ever changing market and consumer demands.

“Exporting products globally, Premier Licensing is a good example of the indigenous manufacturing and distribution experience in Northern Ireland. The range of opportunities identified over the next three years are encouraging and the funding request represents a good fit for the Growth Loan Fund offering.”

WhiteRock Capital Partners LLP, which is authorised and regulated by the FCA, was established in 2012 to manage the Fund by the consortium of three partners – Braveheart Investment Group, NEL Fund Managers and Clarendon Fund Managers.

Companies seeking funding from the Growth Loan Fund must be based in Northern Ireland, demonstrating growth potential and generally be in the manufacturing, engineering or tradable services sectors. Loans will be typically unsecured and personal guarantees will not be sought.

The loans provided are expected to be complementary to existing sources of finance, including banks, trade finance sources and equity investors. Loans are provided on a fully commercial basis, with monthly loan repayments required over typically a five-year term.

For more information about the Growth Loan Fund’s criteria please contact or go to www.growthloanfund.com


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