Norton Motorcycles on the road to success

Norton Motorcycles on the road to success

Norton Motorcycle is selling its motorcycles around the world with the support of a tailored financing model from UK Export Finance, part of the Department for International Trade.

Founded in 1898 and selling its first motorcycle sold in 1902, Norton Motorcycle has been an iconic British brand for nearly 120 years. 

In the early 1990s it ran into difficulties and the rights to the brand were sold on.

Its current owner, Stuart Garner, acquired the global brand and rights in 2008, re-established the company’s UK manufacturing base and delivered the company’s first motorcycle of the new millennium in 2010.

It now sells around 1,000 motorcycles each year all over the world, employs 120 staff in the UK, and has forecast sales of £20 million for this year. 

As a UK heritage brand, its sales are strong in markets like Australia, USA, Canada, Japan and Europe – but new distribution partnerships in China and India will grow its presence in Asian markets too.

Financing this success has been a challenge as the firm’s distribution network expects credit terms when they take deliveries, while Norton needs working capital to finance the manufacture of the motorcycles.

By working with UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK government’s export credit agency, Norton Motorcycles has been able to solve this problem.

UKEF and its bank, Santander, have provided a rolling working capital facility to support an invoice finance model – meaning that Norton is able to borrow against its receivables with a government guarantee to free up the financing.

This financing model has helped Norton grow its business in key markets like Australia, Japan and the USA – offering their customers the competitive credit terms with government-backed finance to support its working capital.

Stuart Garner, CEO of Norton Motorcycles, said: “Overseas sales are a hugely important part of Norton’s business and our growth plans for the future.

“The bespoke support we have received from UK Export Finance has meant that we can realise our ambitions secure in the knowledge that our finance matches our plans.”

In recognition of Norton’s international success, Stuart is now an Export Champion for the East Midlands and Norton Motorcycles has recently launched an ambitious apprenticeship programme.

Tony Petersen, export finance manager for the East Midlands, said: “Norton Motorcycles is a great example of an iconic British brand, for which there is huge demand abroad, realising its international potential and giving back to the community.”

Andrew Bridgen, Member of Parliament for North West Leicestershire, added: “I am pleased that Norton Motorcycles in my constituency is benefitting from the Department for International Trade’s initiative for UKEF support.

“I shall be working with my ministerial colleagues in DIT to encourage other businesses in Leicestershire to apply for support from UKEF and utilise their products and services.”