Think machine tool finance and you are in the realms of hire purchase, leasing or maybe rental. Think ETG Finance and the range of business finance services that could benefit a company either young or established, large or small cover a much wider spectrum. Part of the fast expanding Engineering Technology Group (ETG) based in Southam, Warwickshire, the finance company is led by Andrew Bullard who has a wealth of experience across the financial services sector.
“I have 35 years’ experience working across the industry with companies such as Lloyds, Hill Samuel, Rothschild and Bibby but my machine tool industry experience was gained when I set up Mills Marketing’s finance operation,” he explains. “There I worked with Paul Rhodes until he left to establish what is now ETG. “In the past few years ETG has grown exponentially and now represents over 10 machine tool brands brands. Paul remembered me from the Mills days and asked me to set up ETG’s business finance operation which is now in its second year. It was another piece in the ETG jigsaw of offering a totally embracing service from a single source – in the wider picture we in finance sit comfortably alongside, sales, service and lifetime support.” As Andrew adds, ETG adopts a philosophy of bringing a new way of thinking to the machine tool market.
“We aim to add another dimension by bringing fresh thinking to the often dry world of finance. We always felt there was the potential to offer a much wider range of services than pure machine tool finance.”
At the moment the majority of machines are financed by hire purchase as this lets companies reduce their tax bill by writing off the cost of the machine against their profits up to a limit of £250,000. Other options include machine rental, traditional leasing options and operating leases that allow companies – often large OEM’s to keep the capital expenditure off their books. Flexibility is another point Andrew Bullard is keen to stress.
“Because we are in contact with so many lenders we are virtually always able to match a need with a solution,” he explains. Such was the case for Swindon based Dynamatic Limited who were purchasing an ETG supplied Handtmann machining centre for installation in their Bristol based Aerospace Division specialising in high precision aeronautical components manufacture. Due to the scale of the installation originally a ‘hire then purchase’ proposal had been proposed. However lead times and machine commissioning caused a re-think and it concluded as a lease agreement. “Andrew stuck with the scheme throughout and after the re-think, we had to go back to the drawing board with regard to finance,” explains Dynamatic’s finance director Tony Atkins. His hands-on involvement resulted in a new solution – he made it pretty painless as far as we were concerned.”
Andrew Bullard adds; “In effect we act as a broker, assessing a company’s needs and pairing them with the most appropriate source to supply the service. To date we have set up arrangements that have involved business loans, HP, invoice finance (factoring), leasing, machine rental and even business re-financing. And of course have helped in the sale of a lot of machine tools – last year we funded nearly £8 million pounds worth of machine tools for ETG clients.”
ETG Finance also finances asset purchases that are not in the ETG portfolio and is currently working with companies operating in transport, agriculture and renewable energy. ETG Finance has access to a large number of asset finance providers allowing it to find the perfect partner for a clients. Whether it’s a standalone facility or part of a more structured arrangement with other finance products, ETG can help narrow down search.Andrew Bullard’s success has seen Luke Ward (25) join the team at ETG Finance Ltd, bringing with him experience from working with Hitachi, EFT Finance and County Asset Finance. His appointment will give ETG Finance much greater coverage of the UK in what is a very busy time.
Concluding, Andrew Bullard comments; “We’re talking mostly to engineers, not financiers. They may need a new machine to fulfil an order or indeed meet the opportunity to pitch for business. Often they are not just pushing the boundaries of technology but also affordability. The long term risk is not there but the short term commitment to purchase and set up needs sensitive and sensible guidance. This is where we earn our money.”