Thames Card Technology Ltd (TCT), one of the UK's largest manufacturers of secure chip credit, debit, prepaid, gift and loyalty cards, today announced growth capital investment of £3.2m from independent UK investment firm, BGF.
The equity finance deal will fortify the company with both manufacturing equipment and senior operating and business development personnel, enabling the firm to accelerate growth in the surging international banking and prepaid card markets. TCT already operates in a range of markets globally, servicing an international blue chip customer base across banking, retail and telecoms. In 2013 alone, the firm manufactured over 175m credit/debit, gift and loyalty cards, generating sales of £18m. The investment from BGF will significantly increase both capacity and efficiency at its Visa and MasterCard accredited card manufacturing facility in Rayleigh, Essex, aggressively positioning the business for its next phase of growth.
"The increasing number of banking customers in the developing world, particularly in Africa, combined with the ubiquitous migration to EMV secure chip cards presents a tremendous growth opportunity for us," comments Paul Underwood, Founder and Managing Director, Thames Card Technology. "Prepaid cards in Europe and beyond will also remain a key focus, together with our established customers in retail, gift and loyalty."
Prepaid card deposits nearly tripled from 2008 to 2012, according to Mercator Advisory Group, and are expected to rise an additional 120 per cent by 2015, to $168.4bln globally.
"After 19 years of funding the business with its own capital, we felt that the scale of today's global opportunity justified an injection of equity finance," adds Underwood. "With BGF, not only have we secured the funding that will enable us to drive the business further and faster than ever before, we have also harnessed valuable strategic guidance and operational support from two new Board directors. It's a fantastic start to 2014."
As a result of the investment, TCT has expanded its senior management team with a number of specialists. Andy Caffyn, the former CEO of Deloro Stellite Group and Avery Weigh-Tronix, has joined the TCT Board as Non-Executive Chairman. BGF's Head of Manufacturing, Mark Bryant, will provide further operational support and Investment Director, Rory Pope, will join the Board as BGF's representative.
"Thames Card Technology has done exceptionally well to reach the position that it occupies today and is perfectly suited to our growth capital investment," comments Pope. "It is a respected, leading card manufacturer and has been able to fund steady upward growth from its own balance sheet. We are very excited by the opportunity to support a UK manufacturing business that is looking to grow its domestic and export sales and greatly look forward to working with the team."