Even manufacturers who are growing in today’s market have reported difficulty in gaining bank financing. Axis Automation Group Inc., a Waterloo-based designer and manufacturer of automated systems primarily used in the food service industry, was facing such a difficulty several months ago.
Axis Automation’s most popular products apply salt, sugar, sprinkles and other toppings to food that is moving along conveyor belts. The company also makes controlling systems and software that coordinates the topping equipment with other systems.
While Axis Automation has seen growth in orders for its food-related equipment, its previous bank was unwilling to extend a new line of credit to help fuel its expansion.
“We were with a bank, it was one of the ones that had problems last year,” said Ty Sarajian, president of the company. “They were pulling back on financing with many of the people we know. And we needed help.”
With the assistance of Spire Capital Advisors, a Milwaukee-based merger and acquisition advising firm, Axis Automation was able to secure a new line of credit with West Bend-based Westbury Bank. Sarajian would not give the amount of the credit line, but said it was less than $1 million.
The line of credit will allow Axis Automation to increase production to meet the increased demand for its products and systems.
“We can now do two to three (systems) at the same time rather than to do them sequentially,” Sarajian said. “As we build equipment, we need to finance it over a two to three month period.”
The company has also expanded its research and development. It now has two patent pending products in development that Axis expects to turn into new revenue streams.
Axis Automation now has 17 employees. In the last two months, the company has hired three new engineers, Sarajian said.
The company is also hoping its new relationship with Westbury Bank will continue when it moves to a new facility in 2010. Axis’ lease in Waterloo expires next June, and the company is now looking for a building in Oconomowoc or Hartland, and the bank has expressed interest in helping it fund the move.
“We want to be right in the middle between Milwaukee and Madison,” Sarajian said. “We draw talent from both places. We don’t want to move too far to attract some people (from one over the other). And if we move farther east, we’ll lose our Madison people.”
For more information, visit http://www.axisautomation.com/default.aspx.