UKEF helps iconic British brand Norton Motorcycles sell across the globe

Iconic British brand Norton Motorcycles, based at Donington Hall, has secured a tailored financing model from UK Export Finance, part of the Department for International Trade, enabling it to fund motorcycle sales around the world.

Founded in 1898, and with its first motorcycle sold in 1902, Norton Motorcycles has been an iconic British brand for nearly 120 years. In the early 1990s it ran into difficulties and the rights to the brand were sold on.

Its current owner, Stuart Garner acquired the global brand and rights in 2008, re-established the company’s UK manufacturing base and delivered the company’s first motorcycle of the new millennium in 2010.

It now sells around one thousand motorcycles a year all over the world, employs 120 staff in the UK and has forecast sales of £20m for this year. As a UK heritage brand, its sales are strong in markets like Australia, USA, Canada, Japan and Europe – but new distribution partnerships in China and India will grow its presence in Asian markets too.

However, the firm says financing this success has been a challenge. Norton’s distribution network expects credit terms when they take deliveries while Norton needs working capital to finance the manufacture of the motorcycles.

By working with UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK government’s export credit agency, Norton Motorcycles has found a solution. UKEF and its bank, Santander have provided a rolling working capital facility to support an invoice finance model – meaning that Norton is able to borrow against its receivables with a government guarantee to free up the financing.