Londonderry shirt maker a tailored fit for boost from Growth Loan Fund

Smyth & Gibson MD Richard Gibson pictured with Jenna Mairs, investment manager at WhiteRock Capital Partners
Smyth & Gibson MD Richard Gibson pictured with Jenna Mairs, investment manager at WhiteRock Capital Partners

Londonderry-based Smyth & Gibson Shirtmakers has secured a £500,000 loan from the Growth Loan Fund to support global expansion and create four new jobs.

The firm, one of the last remaining traditional handmade shirtmakers, manufactures top quality garments for leading high street brands such as Selfridges and House of Fraser and exports countries such as Canada, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Finance for the £50m Growth Loan Fund – which provides loans to established Northern Ireland SMEs seeking to access growth finance – has been provided by Invest Northern Ireland and private investor, Northern Ireland Local Government Officers’ Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC).

“Over the past 12 months we have grown the business steadily, breaking in to new markets and building our online presence,” said Richard Gibson, managing director of the business which currently employs 54 people.

“This investment, combined with the continuing support from Invest NI and our equity partners, will allow us to implement our future growth strategy.

“This strategy will be concentrated on further developing our existing export markets of Canada and Germany, as well as supporting growth in our direct retail channels.”

“The recent development of a web concession with House of Fraser, is an example of the growth plan that will help deliver improved margins and more direct contact with the end consumer.”

Jenna Mairs, investment manager at WhiteRock Capital Partners, said: “Smyth & Gibson are one of the North West’s leading manufacturers. The products manufactured take a great deal of skill to create and focusing on quality has enabled one of the few remaining traditional shirtmakers to thrive.

“Export sales are a major contributor to the Northern Ireland Economy and Smyth & Gibson has demonstrated potential for further growth. We have made an investment that will help support the future growth of the business worldwide and create jobs in the local area.”

Smyth & Gibson were advised on the deal by Deloitte’s corporate finance department.