Akula continues global expansion following NPIF - FW Capital investment


LUXURY outdoor furniture company Akula Living Ltd has secured a £480,000 loan from NPIF – FW Capital Debt Finance, managed by FW Capital and  part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF).

Established in 2006, the Wetherby-based company is a leader in the design and manufacture of luxury outdoor furniture and specialises in delivering high-quality, design-led solutions to the world’s most exclusive five-star hotels and resorts.

Akula services a range of contract markets, including hospitality, cruise ships, resorts and spas. The company also offers a bespoke solution "Custom by Akula", offering a bespoke made-to-order service.

Clients of the business include some of the world’s most well-known hotels, including The Venetian, Las Vegas; The Savoy, London; Jumeriah Beach, Dubai; and The Ritz, Paris. The company has also supplied global cruise lines such as Carnival and Holland America. Closer to home, Akula has been busy supplying the hospitality industry with Covid friendly outdoor furniture and have recently supplied the newly refurbished Yorkshire Hotel in Harrogate with their Colonial range, allowing them to open up more outside space.

The US market is an area of focus for Akula, as it is the headquarters to many of the world’s largest international hospitality chains. The business is also seeing more traction in Middle Eastern sales as the popularity of UAE and Indian Ocean holiday destinations such as the Maldives grows.

The NPIF – FW Capital investment was facilitated by Senior Investment Executive Anne Blanden and Investment Assistant Rachel Smith. It has supported the creation of two new roles at Akula.

Anne Blanden, Senior Investment Executive, at FW Capital, said: “Akula is a successful company with an extremely experienced management team who have ably navigated the significant turbulence in their market sector during the pandemic and their performance is commendable with sales holding up and increasing.

“This £480k NPIF loan will provide continued stability and the confidence to move forward, investing in growth capital which will support ongoing job creation.”

Tim Appleton, Akula CEO, said: “Akula has a reputation as one of the world's leading designers and manufacturers of outdoor furniture, with collections known for their perfect combination of style and performance. The NPIF – FW Capital funding will enable us to focus our efforts on expanding our global operations and developing our business in new markets. We are grateful to Anne Blanden, the FW Capital team and NPIF for their support.”

FW Capital provides loans of £100,000 to £750,000 to businesses based in the NPIF region with a focus on the North West, Cumbria and Tees Valley.

Operating from the British Business Bank’s Sheffield head office, the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund provides a mix of debt and equity funding (£25,000 to £2m). It works alongside ten Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), the combined authorities and Growth Hubs, as well as local accountants, fund managers and banks, to support Northern-based SMEs at all stages of their development.

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.