Approved – 2 November 2009


A thriving, Northumberland-based engineering component importer is purring after a winning a five-year contract with one of the biggest names in engineering.

Global Manufacturing Supplies Ltd (GMS Ltd) specialises in sourcing and importing engineering components from manufacturers in China, and has built up an annual turnover of £6m in little more than a decade.

Now, having secured a long-term supply deal with internationally-renowned construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar, the company is focussing on increasing its turnover by up to a further fifty per cent over the next few years.

And to help the company gear up for the additional stock and logistical requirements that come with the Caterpillar contract, GMS has secured a £150,000 investment from Evolve Finance, the debt and mezzanine finance division of regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers.

GMS was founded eleven years ago in the spare bedroom of his Prudhoe home by managing director Owen Ingram, and has grown to now employ 22 people, a number which it is hoped will increase to around 30.

It is still headquartered in the Northumberland town, and as well as Caterpillar, its client base also includes other blue chip engineering companies, such as JCB and Britax PMG.

Over recent years, it has built up a network of more than 60 fully-audited Chinese manufacturing companies from which it sources a wide range of components and services.

Its team of highly-qualified manufacturing engineers has worked with these suppliers to help bring their operations up to European standards, and also provides the technical and infrastructure support that GMS’s UK clients need to get the materials they require on time.

The entire order process, from initial enquiry to final delivery, is managed by GMS personnel, and prices are also quoted in sterling, meaning customers do not have to worry about the impact of currency fluctuations.

In addition to its main area of operations, the company also offers engineering consultancy support, to assist in the development of new products and maximise the benefits of dealing with Chinese manufacturers, and a project management service, from initial design though to delivery of finished components or assemblies.

Owen Ingram says: “China’s manufacturing reputation has improved significantly over the last few years, and is now recognised as a cost-effective, reliable manufacturer of quality engineering products.

“Our team has gone to great lengths to find the very best of these manufacturers, auditing more than 800 companies in the last five years to identify those with which we wish to do business, and which we know provide the quality of service and product that our clients expect.

“Marrying the work we have put in to build up our Chinese networks to the cost and efficiency benefits that working with them offers our European customer base creates a powerful commercial offering, and adding the Caterpillar name to an already impressive client base demonstrates the quality of the services we offer.

“We are very much a north east company, and the future expansion that we have planned will be based around the knowledge and expertise of the team that we have built up, and which we plan to continue building here.

“NEL provided investment options which fit with both our financial requirements and the type of business we are, and it was extremely positive for us to have the quality of the business plans on which we’ve based the company’s future recognised through the extensive due diligence programme that the NEL team carried out.”

Simon Johnson, senior investment executive at Evolve Finance, adds: “GMS has used the engineering expertise of its senior team to take advantage of a significant commercial opportunity, and the progress that the company has made in just a decade is highly impressive.

“GMS’s business plan shows great future ambition based on sound commercial judgement, and the success they have already helped to make a very solid case for this investment.”

Malcolm Page, Deputy Chief Executive at One North East, said: “GMS is a genuine regional success story – from humble beginnings it is fast becoming a global name in its field. I am delighted that we have been able to support this excellent regional company.”

For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, visit or contact Barrie Hensby on 0845 111 1850.
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For further press information, please contact Julian Christopher at Footprint Public Relations on 07891 005034 or via

Notes to Editors

Evolve Finance is the specialist debt and mezzanine finance division of NEL Fund Managers Ltd, which is authorised and regulated in the UK by the Financial Services Authority, and which is a member of the British Venture Capital Association.