Cosmetic manufacturer pivots to provide hand sanitisers to key workers

Stan Chem International, a company most notable for its contract manufacturing to top Health & Beauty brands, and supply of raw materials to chemical, personal care, agriculture and bio agronomy markets, has secured £5.9 million in working capital from Independent Growth Finance (IGF). While the facility was secured just prior to the UK lockdown, Stan Chem International used the flexible funding to expand into producing hand sanitisers for key workers.

Founded over 30 years ago, the Reading & Waterlooville-based company specialises in providing its natural botanical ingredients and contract manufacturing to high-profile Cosmetic and Health & Beauty clients. After a successful MBI in 2014 led by GIL Investments, the company was looking to secure flexible working capital to provide additional headroom for growth. The company was Introduced to leading independent asset-based lender, IGF, who were able to deliver the funding solution required. This not only to support the company during the Coronavirus pandemic but also once the global economy begins to recover

From perfume and body care products to hand sanitiser

With access to working capital and a growing demand for hand sanitiser, Stan Chem International saw an opportunity. Due to a number of retailers closing for the interim or putting orders on hold because of the pandemic, Stan Chem International had additional operational capacity. As a business that processes large quantities of ethanol to make perfume, combined with the additional capacity available they were in a unique position to adapt to meet the demand.  

Thomas Engelen, chairman at Stan Chem International, explains: “We saw both an opportunity and a responsibility to step up and supply our hand sanitisers to frontline healthcare workers, the police, and to manufacturers of essential food products during the crisis. Adapting our production lines to produce hand sanitiser required a slight change in process. However, this has proved such a success that we are planning to continue selling hand sanitisers, even after the pandemic is over.”

The funding provided by IGF allowed the business the flexibility to act on this opportunity. Within one week, the company had produced its first hand sanitisers and within four weeks, half a million bottles were distributed to customers. The manufacturer produces four different bottle sizes, to meet the differing needs of customers.

Engelen adds: “When we approached IGF for a refinance we had no plans to produce hand sanitiser. However by seeking a flexible facility for growth, we were able to adapt when the opportunity arose. While our business operations were affected by Coronavirus, adapting in this way meant we could mitigate those risks. But more important, we are able to play our role in helping our country where needed”

The power of flexible funding

By working closely with the management team at Stanchem to understand their business IGF were able to deliver a creative funding solution, which Included Invoice discounting, a revolving Inventory facility and a plant and machinery loan.

Les Litwinowicz, chief executive at GIL Investments, added: “Having already worked with IGF across other businesses that we’ve invested in we had complete confidence in their delivery. Stan Chem International now has the funding needed to innovate and grow.”

Paul Edmeades, ABL director, at IGF added: “The pandemic has shown us that we all need to look at the World in a different light and those that have the creativity and flexibility to adapt are most likely to succeed. IGF are delighted that we could deliver a funding solution to Stanchem which has enabled them to innovate in such testing times and give them a solid platform for future growth.

The company has expanded its product line portfolio as a result of the pandemic and will look to continue offering the range long-term. Stan Chem International currently operates at £33 million in revenue, and the manufacturer forecasts to see a two-year growth to £40 million.