Lancashire manufacturer which supported Covid vaccine distribution effort eyes further growth

CC Aidy Riggott, Rupert Gatty, Jonathan Nelson

A manufacturer and supplier of refrigerated vehicles has nearly doubled its turnover and expanded its team by around 45 staff to 120.

Coolkit, based in Burnley, was founded in 2005 by Rupert Gatty.

It manufactures and converts temperature-controlled vehicles for a range of clients in the food delivery and pharmaceutical industries.

The company secured a £300,000 loan from Rosebud recently which it used to provide working capital and recruit new staff after it won a major new pharmaceutical client in early 2020.

Coolkit has since manufactured over 400 vehicles for motor manufacturers including Ford and Volkswagen, which have fulfilled wholesaling operations for pharmacies such as Boots and Lloyds. Many of these vehicles were used to support vaccine distribution last year as part of the UK’s fight against Covid-19.

Rosebud is owned by Lancashire County Developments Ltd (LCDL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Lancashire County Council.

Rosebud’s support helped Coolkit grow from around £11m turnover in early 2020 to £18m by June 2021. It is now employing about 120 staff and has set its sights on further growth.

Rupert Gatty, owner and chief executive at Coolkit, said: “Without the support from Rosebud we may not be in the position we are now. The loan allowed us to realise our growth ambitions and has also funded new digital technology, helping to improve our operations.

“During Covid-19, many of our competitors were forced to close but the support meant we were able to contribute to the rollout of the vaccination programme and keep our staff working throughout the pandemic.”

Rosebud Finance aims to support the growth of Lancashire offering loans between £10,000 and £300,000 as well as business support.

The loan is the second time Coolkit has secured finance from Rosebud. The firm previously accessed a £200,000 loan in 2014 to move to its currently facility in Burnley and invest in new machinery. This first loan has since been repaid in full.

Coolkit is now planning further sustained growth and Rupert intends to appoint a number of other new senior appointments to support this ongoing expansion, including at board level.

County councillor Aidy Riggott, cabinet member for economic development and growth, Lancashire County Council, said: “Coolkit’s story is one which inspires me and can inspire other companies across Lancashire too.

“The business has supported the vital pandemic relief effort while contributing to increased employment and prosperity in the region by doing what it does best. We’re proud to have helped this business through Rosebud as part of its journey.”

Rosebud is delivered by GC Business Finance.

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