January 2020
January 2022 (loan)
September 2023 (consultancy)


Established in 1920 by Lucian R Ercolani, Ercol is an award-winning British manufacturer of wooden furniture. Famous for its timeless designs and high quality workmanship, Ercol has been at the forefront of the furniture industry for over 100 years.

In 2020, the closure of non-essential retail during the onset of COVID shut off the company’s customer base. This presented a cash flow shortfall, leaving an important British heritage business in a challenging position.

Our Role

  • Provided a subordinated support bridge financing loan behind the incumbent asset-based lender
  • In parallel, Hilco’s manufacturing team completed a comprehensive business benchmarking assessment to identify key operational and financial performance improvement opportunities
  • Working with management, devised and implemented a prioritised 90-day improvement plan to drive step change performance improvements in production efficiency, profitability and cash flow
  • After the 90-day period, the facility was extended to a two-year revolving credit facility to fund Ercol’s working capital needs, together with further package of consultancy support to assist the company with ‘fast-track’ implementation of operational improvement projects
  • Hilco’s industrial consultancy scope included devising and facilitating projects focused on manufacturing and labour efficiency improvement, systematic working capital reduction, new product introduction processes and ‘on-shoring’ of previously outsourced production back to the Ercol UK factory


  • At the end of the initial 90-day plan,  the initial successful outcomes led to the company requesting a two-year financial facility and an extended operational improvement role
  • The initial 90-day improvement plan and follow-on improvement work resulted in:
  • Return to positive profitability (EBITDA)
  • Significant reduction in intermediate stock levels with associated positive working capital benefits
  • 80% of previously aged/provisioned intermediate WIP converted into saleable stock
  • Key machining centres OEE performance lifted from <30% to 70% allowing progressive ‘in-shoring’ back into factory previously outsourced production (due to prior lack of capacity)
  • Introduction of short internal control and strategic management processes and techniques to assist management in maintaining and sustaining the gains
  • Refinanced by conventional lenders after two years. Hilco earned material fee financed by the business’ improved performance. Equity value enhanced.

David Finch, Managing Director, ercol

"The pandemic constrained our business significantly both operationally and financially. Hilco were supportive to us from day one. The loan they provided helped support our working capital needs.

Their industrial process improvement and business turnaround expertise was invaluable in helping us work through this period and progressively return the business to profitability."

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If your business or a business in your portfolio is facing a current challenge, our team can provide a qualified perspective and experience-based guidance toward an optimised resolution.