UK manufacturers sitting on £250 billion in potential working capital


New analysis from Wyelands Bank reveals UK mid-sized, or “Brittelstand”, manufacturers have £252bn in assets that they could use to access working capital to help them grow.

The research analyses 23,000 mid-sized businesses turning over £10m to £300m across the manufacturing supply chain.

Wyelands Bank, set up to help small and medium businesses to trade, grow and create jobs, used government data to understand the total stock and debtor assets available to these businesses.  The research assesses the working capital potential. 

It shows that within the manufacturing supply chain, original equipment manufacturers have the highest proportion of working capital assets compared to turnover at 28% on average. 

Manufacturers have the second highest proportion compared to turnover at 26% on average.  Distributors are third with 25% on average.  Raw materials suppliers have the lowest proportion of working capital assets compared to turnover at 24% on average.  

Businesses within the manufacturing supply chain include tier three businesses, or raw material suppliers, tier two businesses, or manufacturers, tier one businesses, or distributors, and original equipment manufacturers,

Different stages in the supply chain


Turning over £10-300 million



Tier 3

Tier 2

Tier 1

Original equipment manufacturers




Companies that produce raw, or close to raw materials like textiles, metals and plastics


Companies that produce component parts that are not sold directly to the OEM, but to Tier 1 companies, who package the inputs for ultimate sale to the OEM

Companies that supply parts or systems directly to OEMs


Design, manufacture and market the end product, sourcing parts from suppliers/distributors to assemble the final product


Average turnover (thousands)





Average debtors (thousands)





Average stock (thousands)





Average potential assets (thousands)





When assessing by revenue band, businesses turning over £10m to £50m have more than a quarter of their average annual turnover tied up in stock and debtors assets.

Manufacturers – or tier two businesses – within the £10m to £50m turnover band have the highest proportion of assets tied up across the supply chain at 28% per cent of annual revenue on average. 

Meanwhile, businesses turning over £151m to £300m have the lowest proportion of assets tied up in stock and debtors of all businesses analysed.  These companies have a fifth of their annual revenue tied up on average.

Raw materials suppliers have the lowest proportion tied up in stock across the supply chain. They carry only eight per cent, or £16m on average, of annual turnover in stock.

Iain Hunter, CEO of Wyelands Bank, said: “our analysis shows the proportion of assets that UK Brittelstand manufacturers have that could be used to free up working capital.

“Larger businesses often need less financing because they have more leverage with their customers.  Smaller businesses, however, can often struggle for this reason.

“Freeing up these potential working capital assets can help provide the finance that businesses need to fulfil new orders and grow.  There are often simple ways to fund growth without having to give up equity.

“At Wyelands Bank we get to know our customers and have the flexibility to tailor the right solutions for their business."