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Enterprise M3 LEP brokers deal to secure Farnborough’s place firmly on international business map

The Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has announced today, Thursday 30 July, that £5 million from the Local Growth Fund (LGF) will be loaned to Farnborough International Limited, to continue to provide an important international shop window to the world’s export markets for aerospace, defence, space and security businesses.

Enterprise M3 LEP has been working with Rushmoor Borough Council, Hampshire County Council and Barclays Bank to secure a commitment to loan Farnborough International Ltd a total of £26.7 million. This financial support means that Farnborough International Ltd will be able to develop new permanent conference and exhibition facilities for the Airshow which can also be used all year round, for other events.

Farnborough International Airshow is one of the world’s largest aerospace and defence trade shows, and a showcase for the UK aerospace industry which is worth £29bn a year.  Running over five days, the 2014 Airshow hosted over 1,500 exhibitors, welcomed over 100,000 trade visitors and saw orders with a total value of $204bn, of which £12bn flowed through into the UK supply chain, regionally and nationally.  The public weekend welcomed a further 80,000 visitors from all over the south east region and beyond.

The proposed investment of LGF from Enterprise M3 has enabled this project to move forward, providing the confidence and impetus for other partners to invest. Hampshire County Council and Rushmoor Borough Council have both agreed a loan of £4.5m each, along with significant support from Barclays Bank. This will be complemented by a working capital of £2.3m provided by Farnborough International Limited.  The new conference and exhibition centre will be completed ready for the start of Farnborough International Airshow 2018.   

Geoff French CBE, Chair of Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The Farnborough International Airshow has a huge impact on the local economy, which, in financial terms is estimated as £36m within a 25 mile radius of Farnborough. New state of the art conference and exhibition space will mean that the Airshow can maintain its position as a leading event while providing the opportunity for other events to launch, develop and grow, or relocate to these facilities. This, in turn, will allow Farnborough to grow as a location and destination by providing one of the only major international exhibition venues of this size in the South East outside London, with good transport links.”

Shaun Ormrod, CEO of Farnborough International Ltd, said: “We are delighted that Enterprise M3, Hampshire County Council and Rushmoor Borough Council share our vision for the Farnborough International Airshow and the venue. Their support recognises the vital importance of the UK Aerospace Industry to the local and national economies and the economic benefits of development and growing an event-based industry for the region. Once the project is delivered it will leave a lasting legacy in the Hampshire region for future generations to benefit from.”

Councillor Roy Perry, Leader of Hampshire County Council, said: "Hampshire County Council is committed to the county's economic prosperity and sees the aerospace and defence sector, which is worth £1.5 billion each year in Hampshire, and employs 16,500 people, as a significant part of the county's economy - bringing benefits to Hampshire, its residents and businesses. Its profile helps inspire young people to pursue careers in science and technology, as demonstrated by the 5,000 under-21s who participated in its Futures Day last year. This will be a significant boost to the already successful aerospace industry in Hampshire, and a further step in increasing the number of the all important higher-skilled jobs and career opportunities in the county.

"The Farnborough Airshow, alongside the Paris Airshow which takes place on alternative years are the two most important airshows in the world. These improvements to Farnborough’s facilities will ensure it remains at the top of the Airshow circuit."

Councillor Peter Moyle, Leader of Rushmoor Borough Council, said: “Rushmoor Borough Council is committed to supporting and enabling the continuation and enhancement of the Farnborough International Airshow, mindful of its positive impact on the local, regional and national economy. The development of permanent high quality facilities is crucial to the Show’s long-term success and will also provide a much-needed facility to host other events throughout the year. The Council is pleased to be able to work with Hampshire County council, Enterprise M3, Farnborough International Ltd and Barclays in an innovative partnership to fund the project. The loan will also provide a good rate of return which will help enable the Council to continue delivering its key services to the local community.”