Diversification is a key focus for any company these days, and none more so than Dundee-based engineering solutions firm Albacom, which is steaming ahead with growth plans, thanks in part to financing from UMi Debt Finance Scotland.
Albacom specialises in electrical, mechanical, sustainable energy and assembly engineering solutions, and prides itself on a strong, collaborative approach. CEO Jim Davidson has driven this diversification and partnership ethos since joining the company in 2015: “Albacom has always had a great name in the industry and for many years our main focus was electronics. But I have a passion for diversification and change management, and I knew we could expand our customer base across a wider range of sectors, such as oil and gas, so we now also offer mechanical assembly and sustainable solutions as part of the package.”
Proud of its heritage and deep Dundee roots, Albacom started life in the 1950s as Ferranti and has gone on to establish a local and international client base with a network of global partners. Jim, whose background is in engineering, said the Covid-19 pandemic provided an opportunity to identify what Albacom needed to grow, and gave the team time to plan and prepare:
“We had already decided to continue exploring opportunities across the sustainable and renewable sectors and in 2020 we invested in a joint venture, Genista Energy, to offer sustainable, green energy battery engineering solutions. Our battery pack storage system prevents grid connection overload and is a really exciting addition to the market, because many companies are looking for ways to ensure that they can charge vehicles without draining the national grid, as they work towards a greener and more energy conscious future.”
However, further growth would require financing which is when Jim turned to the UMi Debt Finance Scotland loan scheme. Supported under the Scottish Growth Scheme, UMi Debt Finance is designed to help Scottish businesses innovate, grow and diversify.
He said: “Albacom needed more working capital, more people with the right skillsets, and funding for research and development. It was important to us to secure funding with an organisation that supports and understands SMEs so I was keen to find out how UMi Debt Finance Scotland could support our growth moving forward.”
Jim said the process of applying for financing was very slick and simple: “I was pleasantly surprised by the entire process, from the first contact through to shaking hands on the deal. The administrative side was efficient and throughout it all, everything was clear and understandable. Now we’re perfectly positioned to manufacture our new products and get them to market, both in the UK and internationally.”
Tom Brock, UMI Debt Finance Scotland Fund Director, said: “Albacom is exactly the type of company we love to talk to – they’ve thought very carefully about what they need to do to grow the company and make it thrive, with exciting products in the pipeline that look to future problem solving and not just surviving the next few years.
“Albacom’s growth plans demonstrate clearly the positive impact and potential for growth that can only come from a clear understanding of the market and spotting some golden opportunities.”
Jim recommends UMi Debt Finance Scotland to any business with growth plans in mind: “They were easy to talk to, with a very personable team, and the process was quick and easy. Albacom now has the funding required to diversify further and I’m looking forward to moving forward with our expansion plans.”