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Home » North East Deals Of The Week: Key Contracts, Investments And Acquisitions

North East Deals Of The Week: Key Contracts, Investments And Acquisitions

Northumberland housebuilder Cussins sealed a £14m finance deal to ramp up its developments across the region. The Alnwick company, led by Peter Cussins and his son, CEO Jabin Cussins – the third generation of the Cussins family to run the business – currently builds 130 homes per year on six sites, from Darlington in the south of the region to North Northumberland, building two to five-bedroom family homes in rural and semi-rural locations, but also more contemporary riverside apartments and homes.

The business, the longest established housebuilder in the region, will use the £14m from Lloyds Bank to grow faster, increasing the number of properties it builds per year and allowing access to larger schemes which offer improved continuity. The funding will be used to expand production on development sites across Northumberland and County Durham. The business will also look to purchase new areas of land to build on and meet the demand for properties in the region.

Read more: Northumberland Estates submits £300m mixed use development plans for North Tyneside

Jabin Cussins, CEO of Cussins said: “Lloyds really understands our business and are always on hand to discuss our funding requirements as we continue to expand and establish ourselves within the region. With their support Cussins has expanded rapidly over the past decade and the extended facilities are key to our growth strategy.”

Left to right: Nicholas Goldstein and Greg Ilsen, co-founders of SushiDog (Image: Middleton Enterprises) Newcastle family investment firm Middleton Enterprises invested more than £600,000 into Japanese fast food business SushiDog.

Middleton Enterprises, which also has a London base, is leading a funding round of £612,000 in SushiDog, with a view to providing a longer-term investment that offers financial and strategic support. SushiDog is a fast-growing quick service restaurant chain in London that’s changing the way people eat sushi and the six-figure funding marks the latest growth capital investment made by Middleton Enterprises in a business planning to roll out more sites.

Primarily, the funding round will support the opening of new outlets in central London in 2023, with some investment in other areas of the business such as strengthening its leadership team. The longer-term objective is to build out the chain across 30 sites over the next five years. Greg Ilsen and Nicholas Goldstein, who founded SushiDog five years ago, say the business is revolutionising the Japanese food-to-go industry with easy-to-eat sushi rolls and sushi bowls made in front of customers.

Middleton Enterprises’ growth capital portfolio includes OneGym, a boutique gym chain, Alertacall, a provider of enhanced housing management and modular housing company ilke Homes.

Left to right: Happiest At Home directors Samantha Hackett and Paul Moore with Jane Siddle of NEL Fund Managers. (Image: NEL Fund Managers) North East care company Happiest At Home is looking to create around 50 jobs and quadruple its turnover after securing a six-figure investment.

Happiest At Home provides an app-based relationship management service, bringing carers together with people who need care support for a variety of reasons, including learning difficulties, physical disabilities, mental health issues and acquired brain injuries. The Newcastle business was formed at the start of 2021 by a team of experienced care sector professionals and is the only business of its type in the north of England, working with clients across the UK.

The firm worked with regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers to bring in the £100,000 investment from the North East Growth Capital Fund Loan Fund, Supported by The European Regional Development Fund, which it is using to increase business development activities and expand its team.

Samantha Hackett, director at Happiest At Home, says: “The market demand for the high-quality services we facilitate has been clearly demonstrated by what we’ve been able to achieve in a very short space of time, and as one of very few companies in the UK providing this service, we’re now looking to accelerate the scaling up process.”

Sloobie Skiwear, launched by Renee Fraser-Shepherd, aims to meet a gap in the market for fashionable base layers for skiers. (Image: Renee Fraser-Shepherd) Well known fashion rental provider Hirestreet has partnered with recently-launched Sloobie to offer skiers the chance to hire the brand’s outfits, which are designed to bridge the gap between functionality and style. The move comes only months after Sloobie’s launch by its 21-year-old founder, Renee Fraser-Shepherd, a business studies student at Northumbria University.

The young entrepreneur, who has received mentorship from Julie Blackie, CEO of successful North East online retailer Pink Boutique, set out to change the skiwear market which she found to be awash with “frumpy” designs in “tacky colours”. Sloobie’s ‘shapewear’ outfits have been pitched at skiers who enjoy time on the slopes as well as the lifestyle aspect of skiing, including apres ski activities.

Sloobie’s products have already found customers in the US and Norway, and a pop-up in Fenwick’s flagship Newcastle store, where Ms Fraser-Shepherd worked, has introduced the brand to shoppers. It is now hoped the firm can take on big name rivals such as Sweaty Betty.

Ms Fraser-Shepherd said: “We’re excited to partner with Hirestreet to offer female skiers the access to skiwear that they otherwise may not have been able to afford. Through this partnership female skiers will now be able to rent high quality, shaping and stylish skiwear for their trip” something that was otherwise, hard to access unless you had the means.”

Thorncliffe House in Sunderland. One of the properties that care provider Hark Group Holdings has acquired in the past 12 months. (Image: Hark Group Holdings) Newcastle care home operator Hark Group Holdings has expanded with a flurry of acquisitions in the region.

The care provider, founded by husband and wife team Hardip Kang and Rupinder Kang, bought the business and assets of Cedar House Care Home in Sunderland and Thorncliffe Care Limited, which operates Thorncliffe House in Sunderland. Funding for the undisclosed deal came from Allica Bank, while Hark was advised by Newcastle-based Mincoffs Solicitors and accountancy group Azets. Hark has indicated it will make further acquisitions in the near future.

Hardip Kang, director and owner of Hark Group said: “Our expansion and growth this past year was greatly assisted with the knowledge, experience and eye for detail from Chris Hughes and all the team at Mincoffs. It’s the kind of reassurance a growing business needs when trying to achieve their growth targets. Lee Humble and the team at Azets provided me with the financial advice and assistance to accelerate the momentum needed to get the deal over the line. I look forward to working with both again for any possible future acquisitions.”


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