NPIF funding boost helps Lankem to focus on sustainability

Laura Rees
Senior Investment Executive

Greater Manchester specialist manufacturer Lankem has boosted its environmental commitments following a six-figure investment to support the development of a next generation bio-based surfactant.

Financial backing has been secured from NPIF – FW Capital Debt Finance, which is managed by FW Capital and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment. The six-figure loan is supporting the launch of the new BioLoop range together with the creation of three new jobs. 

Lankem was founded in 1999 and this year is celebrating 25 years in business. It is a rapidly expanding firm located in Dukinfield which supplies industrial surfactant products such as coatings, emulsion polymerisation, agrochemicals, textiles, industrial cleaning oils and lubricants. Recently Lankem has focused on the development of a range of novel bio-based surfactants. The funding is supporting the introduction of this new range of bio-based surfactants containing components that come from renewable sources. Unlike many bio-based surfactants, these products offer excellent surfactant properties and can be used as more environmentally friendly alternatives to conventional synthetic non-ionics, such as alcohol ethoxylates. Unlike palm-based surfactants, the BioLoop range contains soybean oil which is considered to be a great sustainable source.

Sean Hodgkinson, Director at Lankem explains: “Sustainable products from renewable sources have been around for many years but the majority have very limited functionality in terms of performance compared to synthetic countertypes. Our remit was to develop a range of bio-based products that offer comparable performance against the synthetic products across a wide range of applications. This product is plant based which has huge benefits to the planet but is also ultra mild so can be used in personal care and cosmetics. This is the first of its type in the world and is made from ‘new’ carbon. We’ve been busy manufacturing the BioLoop product over the last 18 months. The funding from FW Capital is supporting the development of BioLoop and our launch to market. This is a very exciting time for everyone at Lankem.”

Laura Rees, Senior Investment Executive at FW Capital added: “The development of innovative products is critical for the future and BioLoop is a very exciting one that delivers on sustainability, without compromising on performance. I’m thrilled to support Lankem with the growth and launch of their BioLoop product. This is a real game changer for the surfactant industry.“

Debbie Sorby, Senior Manager, the British Business Band said: “Investments like this play a pivotal role in propelling businesses like Lankem towards their sustainability goals and the next stage of growth. NPIF funding not only fuels innovation but also plays a vital role in fostering local job creation, allowing businesses to take a step towards a greener and more prosperous future."

The current NPIF investment phase has now completed with the British Business Bank launching the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund II in March 2024.

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.