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Business & Economy

Ground investigation firm secures investment for growth

Exploration & Testing Associates (ETA) has established a new materials testing laboratory at its head office in County Durham, following a one million pound investment package.

The ground investigation business is currently going through the final stages of its assessment by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) – the Government body that assesses competence in the materials testing sector.

Funding for the new laboratory has been secured through private investment, RBS and NatWest as well as regional fund management firm, NEL Fund Managers, which provided a £150,000 investment from the North East Growth Capital Fund.

Clive Owen LLP’s corporate finance director, David Wilson, provided advice on the fundraising process.

The new lab is the latest stage of ETA’s plans to establish a network of regional offices which offer ground investigation, on-site and laboratory materials testing as well as geotechnical and geo-environmental advice and reporting.

It is hoped that the company can built up its workforce to around 70 people as part of this process.

ETA was founded last year by chairman Ken Marsh, who has decades of experience in the industry.

He said: “The experience I’ve had of building up businesses in this industry will help our young team develop their commercial knowledge alongside their highly impressive technical expertise.

“We’re focused on providing the sorts of service levels that win repeat business from high quality clients and help to reinforce the company’s reputation for reliability, innovation and delivery.

“We’ve come a long way very quickly and our aim now is to take on more and bigger contracts right around the UK as the business grows, something for which the Bowburn laboratory is the ideal base.

“The NEL team had a refreshing approach to the investment process and clearly understood what we are aiming to achieve, which made what they offered the best option for our needs.”

David Thomas, investment director at NEL Fund Managers, added: “The ETA management team has an excellent industry track record and a clear strategy for how it is going to grow the business, which combined to make an attractive investment opportunity for us.”