Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Derbyshire narrowboat manufacturer unlocks growth

An Ashbourne-based narrowboat builder is expanding into a new premises thanks to financial support from HSBC UK.

Oakums Narrowboats will use a £881,000 funding package to purchase a new 14,000 sq ft property in Carsington Water. The additional space will increase the business’s capacity by 350 per cent, expanding its manufacturing capability and enabling the business to build seven boats at once, compared to two currently. The funding has also streamlined operations by facilitating the import of key boat parts from overseas.

The newly acquired premises will support Oakums to fulfil its ever-growing order book and reduce its waiting list. With half of the business’s customers based overseas, the funding will also facilitate further international growth for the business.

The funding package allows the business to continue its fast revenue growth, which has doubled year-on-year since the business was founded in 2019. Oakums has already reached £1.4 million of revenue in the past three months and is now anticipating annual revenue to increase to £6 million as a direct result of the expansion.

Liam Hainsworth, director at Oakums Narrowboats, said: “This funding marks a significant milestone and empowers us to embark on a new era of expansion and innovation within our industry.

“This is a strategic leap forward for us and paints a positive outlook for our future operations. Oakums has flourished from a personal hobby to a dynamic workforce of 14 skilled builders, and the banking team’s support has been instrumental in achieving this transformative growth.”

Mark Greasley, relationship manager at HSBC UK, added: “We’re dedicated to ensuring small businesses and enterprises can thrive both domestically and globally. Oakums has created a business model that we’re excited to get behind, and we couldn’t be more pleased to be able to support the company as it continues to grow.”

Founded by former architect Liam Hainsworth, Oakums Narrowboats manufactures luxury narrowboats for private sale. The business specialises in modern ‘Rosie and Jim’ style boats, and its core customer base includes holiday homes for international customers and houseboats for UK-based customers.

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