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21.07.05
SWIG Makes A Splash With £50,000 Funding For Saltash Company

John Peters, South West Investment Group Fund Manager and Claire Mollet, Manuplas' Company Secretary with a display of Hippo Leisure ProductsA Saltash based manufacturing company which is fast becoming Europe's leading specialist in swimming pool play equipment is looking forward to an extremely buoyant future after receiving £50,000 worth of investment from South West Investment Group.

Manuplas, which currently employs 24 people, has secured over £350,000 worth of investment to help extend its manufacturing capabilities including the purchase of new CNC equipment.

The company produces a wide range of products including navigation and mooring buoys and fendering and flotation solutions for the marine industry, in addition to the swimming pool play equipment which it produces and markets under the name of Hippo Leisure Products.

As one of only four companies worldwide with the technology to produce the swimming pool floats, slides and toys, Hippo Leisure's reputation in the leisure industry is growing fast. According to Manuplas company secretary Claire Mollet, SWIG's Objective One backed investment was essential to the company's development. "We were introduced to SWIG by Business Link and are absolutely delighted with the funding which has provided a significant proportion of the development funding we needed to put our expansion plan into operation."

Andrew Wickham, who established the company in Saltash in 2003 says he was impressed by SWIG's quick grasp of the company's operations and plans. "It was a pleasure to work so closely with professionals who clearly understood the business and where we wanted to go," he says. "The new equipment we are purchasing thanks to the funding will open up whole new product lines for us that will enable us to offer low volume, specialist cutting and shaping of a variety of materials from foam to metal. Our Hippo Leisure products are becoming increasingly popular with leisure centres and water parks all over the UK. We are also seeing increasing interest from around the world for our products. To be able to offer customers the opportunity to have play equipment of any shape size or style is great for them and as a result, great for us," said Andrew.

South West Investment Group Fund Manager John Peters believes the funding will help the company to establish itself as a global player in the swimming leisure sector. "The company is developing an extremely good reputation in the marine and the leisure sector and we could see the potential for growth. It is an exciting company, so as the region's leading gap funding provider, we were delighted to complete the funding package which will help them develop the business," said John.

For further information please contact Graham Buckley or Karen Adkins of Mercury Public Relations on 01872 561120.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the South West Investment Group through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

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Editor's notes:

South West Investment Group (SWIG) was established in 1989 to find new ways of accessing finance to assist local businesses. It is an independent, 'not-for-profit' private/public partnership company limited by guarantee, with board members drawn from public and private sector interests across the South West region.

SWIG aims to help businesses that help the local economy, where the aid will complement rather than compete with the banks.

Since 1996, SWIG has been managing repayable aid schemes in collaboration with the local business advisory network - both public and private - through which all applications must be made.

SWIG now manages a range of soft and commercial loans covering the whole of the South West, from offices in Truro and Exeter, and is the largest provider of 'complementary' loan finance in the region with a portfolio of £10 million.

To date, more than £6.5 million in development finance has been delivered to over 600 companies throughout the South West, helping to increase turnover by £1/4 billion and create over 1,200 jobs.

Website: www.southwestinvestmentgroup.co.uk

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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