Finance deal puts Blackpool firm at cutting edge

Northern Neon's  new machine
Northern Neon's new machine
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A Blackpool company that started life by making signs for the Blackpool Pleasure Beach and the Blackpool Tower Company over 50 years ago, has secured a £525,000 finance package to invest in new equipment.

Northern Neon Lights secured the finance from HSBC’s Lancashire and Cumbria Commercial Centre in a deal managed by Commercial Manager Laura Moir.

The Blackpool-based company has acquired a new state-of-the-art fibre laser cutting machine, which will allow it to broaden its product offering to customers.

Northern Neon Lights is a third generation firm that was formed in 1958 by Herbert Cockerill.

The business is now run by Herbert’s son Stephen and Stephen’s nephew Robert, along with Managing Director Jonathan Thompson.

Stephen said: “The investment is aimed at giving the business greater capacity and flexibility to target new customers in the area of laser cutting.

“The business has evolved over the years and laser cutting and fabrication are now our main business areas.

“We wanted to make this investment to meet the increased levels of business we are experiencing, and also to widen the range of services we can offer to existing and potential customers.

“We have a long history with HSBC as we used to manufacture the signs for the old Midlands Bank, so it was fitting that the bank should support this expansion.”

The new machine brings its range of laser cutting machines to five and enables the firm to work with material such as copper, brass and nickel, which they could not do on existing machines.

Sign making now represents only 20 per cent of the business’s activities, with the remainder focused on fabrication and laser cutting. The company employs 30 people and generates a turnover of £2.7m a year.

Jason Gledhill, HSBC Lancashire and Cumbria Area Commercial Director, added: “Northern Neon Lights is a well-established business that has adapted and evolved with its customer base.

“It is typical of the ambitious, growing businesses we are currently speaking to that are taking advantage of opportunities to expand.”

The funding has been allocated from HSBC’s £100 million SME fund for businesses from Lancashire and Cumbria, which is part of a wider £500m fund for the North West.