The Rocal Group is a business of over 25 years’ standing that has established a strong presence in the composite doors market through its specialist division Endurance Doors. Other parts of the Group manufacture uPVC external door panels and bespoke plastic extrusions for use in places such as caravan parks and leisure homes. It’s a successful set-up that has seen turnover grow to some £25m with 200 staff and an impressive six-acre manufacturing facility in North Lincolnshire.
Strong business levels
The Endurance Doors business represents around 85% of the Group’s turnover, fuelled by a consumer-facing website that generates over 1,000 leads a week.
Stephen Nadin, managing director of Rocal, says that business has been steadily growing. “Our sales have been on a strong upward trend which I believe is due to the quality of our products and also the quality of the customer service we provide.”
Since the pandemic struck, the business has really taken off. Endurance Doors sales were up 66% year on year in the eight months since the end of the first lockdown, as an increasing number of people looked to invest in home improvements in the absence of holidays and travel.
At the same time, the business has been investing in upgrading its own infrastructure, implementing a new distribution software system.
A difficult time threatens to derail the business
If all this sounds like a healthy story of steady commercial growth, things very nearly took a different turn a couple of years ago – and flexible Invoice Finance was required to help the business stabilise itself.
The business encountered a difficulty in 2018 which affected their sales, causing them to lose a substantial amount in the first half of the year. Though they managed to stem the flow in the second six months, they realised the need for additional support to help steady the business.
Rocal’s existing bank said it was unable to help. Other applications proved fruitless too. Then, a contact recommended Aldermore to Stephen and he got in touch.
Finance facility from Aldermore
Aldermore was able to agree an Invoice Finance facility to support Rocal and the relationship has flourished from there.
“Aldermore was instantly really helpful,” Stephen says. “Our relationship manager Martyn Thompson has been great to work with. The finance facility has enabled us to move on from that bad deal and invest again in people, machinery, and buildings. It supports our general cash flow too. I hadn’t really considered invoice finance before, but it’s been really positive for our business.”
Managing Covid and Brexit turbulence
This cash flow support has proved particularly valuable recently due to the Covid-19 pandemic and, to a lesser extent, Brexit. The company sources most of its products from Europe and other overseas markets, and Covid shutdowns have led to interruptions in the supply chain with scarcities of certain products, as well as raising costs. To manage these issues, Rocal has increased the levels of stock it holds – meaning it therefore also needs more available cash. In addition, Brexit has produced an upward trend in prices for the materials and products the company buys from suppliers in Europe.
“We hope that things will settle down over the coming months,” Stephen reflects. “In the medium term, we may look to source more products and materials from UK suppliers. Our Invoice Finance facility is helping us manage the situation. Overall, we’ve recovered from the curve ball of our deal that went bad and the business is once again on a growth trajectory – aided and supported by our finance from Aldermore.”
Martyn Thompson, relationship manager at Aldermore, said: “We were very pleased to be able to help Rocal when it needed support. It was clearly a sound business with good prospects despite the difficulties it had encountered. We are glad the business has fully recovered and is once again on a steady growth path. We look forward to continuing to work together in the years to come.”