UK manufacturers sitting on £250 billion in potential working capital

New analysis from Wyelands Bank reveals UK mid-sized, or “Brittelstand”, manufacturers have £252 billion in assets that they could use to access working capital to help them grow.

The research analyses 23,000 mid-sized businesses turning over £10 million to £300 million across the manufacturing supply chain. 

Wyelands Bank, set up to help small and medium businesses to trade, grow and create jobs, used government data to understand the total stock and debtor assets available to these businesses.  The research assesses the working capital potential.  

It shows that within the manufacturing supply chain, original equipment manufacturers have the highest proportion of working capital assets compared to turnover at 28% on average.  

Manufacturers have the second highest proportion compared to turnover at 26% on average.  Distributors are third with 25% on average.  Raw materials suppliers have the lowest proportion of working capital assets compared to turnover at 24% on average.   

Businesses within the manufacturing supply chain include tier three businesses, or raw material suppliers, tier two businesses, or manufacturers, tier one businesses, or distributors, and original equipment manufacturers,

Different stages in the supply chain

 

Turning over £10-300 million

 

 

Tier 3

Tier 2

Tier 1

Original equipment manufacturers

Supplier

Manufacturer

Distributor

Companies that produce raw, or close to raw materials like textiles, metals and plastics

 

Companies that produce component parts that are not sold directly to the OEM, but to Tier 1 companies, who package the inputs for ultimate sale to the OEM

Companies that supply parts or systems directly to OEMs

 

Design, manufacture and market the end product, sourcing parts from suppliers/distributors to assemble the final product

 

Average turnover (thousands)

£44,550

£40,982

£40,525

£40,608

Average debtors (thousands)

£6,208

£5,932

£6,078

£4,916

Average stock (thousands)

£4.454

£4,904

£4,205

£6,501

Average potential assets (thousands)

£10,662

£10,836

£10,283

£11,417

When assessing by revenue band, businesses turning over £10 million to £50 million have more than a quarter of their average annual turnover tied up in stock and debtors assets. 

Manufacturers – or tier two businesses – within the £10 million to £50 million turnover band have the highest proportion of assets tied up across the supply chain at 28% per cent of annual revenue on average.  

Meanwhile, businesses turning over £151 million to £300 million have the lowest proportion of assets tied up in stock and debtors of all businesses analysed.  These companies have a fifth of their annual revenue tied up on average. 

Raw materials suppliers have the lowest proportion tied up in stock across the supply chain. They carry only eight per cent, or £16 million on average, of annual turnover in stock. 

Iain Hunter, CEO of Wyelands Bank, said: “our analysis shows the proportion of assets that UK Brittelstand manufacturers have that could be used to free up working capital. 

“Larger businesses often need less financing because they have more leverage with their customers.  Smaller businesses, however, can often struggle for this reason. 

“Freeing up these potential working capital assets can help provide the finance that businesses need to fulfil new orders and grow.  There are often simple ways to fund growth without having to give up equity.

“At Wyelands Bank we get to know our customers and have the flexibility to tailor the right solutions for their business."

Methodology 

The research analysed mid-sized businesses in the UK turning over £10 million to £300 million using NACE industry codes (or the statistical classification of economic activity codes).  From this, we identified 42,000 businesses.  The source was the Orbis module of the Bureau van Dijk company information: UK companies turning over £10-300m, January 2018. 

We then restricted the data to only the manufacturing linked NACE codes to identify the businesses within the manufacturing supply chain, including: 

  • Tier three businesses – suppliers 
  • Tier two businesses – manufacturers 
  • Tier one businesses – distributors
  • Original equipment manufacturers

These businesses where then split into the turnover bands of £10m-50m, £51m-150m and £151m-£300m to create the table in the release above.

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