Gilbert’s Foods eyes export growth after funding deal

AMBITIOUS Lancashire food supplier Gilbert’s Foods has agreed a new funding line to boost its export growth.

The family-owned company, which in March opened its first overseas venture in Australia, has secured a £2.4m finance package from HSBC.

The funding includes a £2m invoice finance line and a £400,000 import  finance facility which will provide working capital to enable the company  to accelerate export expansion and increase the volume of meat its

The £10m turnover Heysham-based firm, which supplies meat and poultry dishes to the wholesale, food service and retail sectors, is  looking to establish exports to Europe, India and China.

The funding was arranged through HSBC’s Lancashire commercial team  led by senior international commercial manager Chris Mackenzie and senior business development manager David Taylor.

Gilbert’s Foods is a family business that was founded by Gilbert Smith in
1970  and was one of the original suppliers of meat to McDonalds. Gilbert’s son Peter is now managing director of the firm, which employs 65 people.

The company manufactures pasteurised meat products which are designed for re-heating via microwave, oven, boil-in-the-bag, grill or rotisserie.

Managing director Peter Smith said: “We import a lot of our meat so the invoice  finance element of the finance will help the business as currently
a lot of our stock is on the water and arrives in clusters, which ties up
working  capital and causes cash flow issues.

“The new facility gives us the headroom to increase imports but also frees-up working capital to expand the business elsewhere.”

He said “Export is an area we are only just getting into but we see strong
growth  in this area and will be targeting Europe, China and India, as well
as Australia of course.”

Leigh Briggs, HSBC Lancashire commercial director, said: “When we sat down with Peter and the team at Gilbert’s we quickly came to the conclusion that invoice finance was an ideal solution to the company’s requirements. The  facility  covers  the  company’s complete business cycle and will help towards its growth plans, benefiting both the local and wider UK economy.”