Timber importer reaping rewards of external investment

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An East Yorkshire-based importer of wholesale timber is on course to generate £16m worth of turnover this calendar year.

Carmichael International, in Brough, procures sustainable, high-quality stock from suppliers in North-West Russia and the Baltic region. It is now the UK’s largest importer of wholesale timber.

The managing director and founder of the business, Sam Carmichael, initially sought backing for the company in 2015. He approached Bibby Financial Services (BFS) seeking funding to kick-start the business and foster smooth relationships with suppliers.

The package, initially a £300,000 facility including Trade Finance and Factoring support, has gradually increased over time in line with the company’s growth, and now totals £5m.

The business has consistently doubled its annual revenue. The funding has helped Carmichael undertake larger monthly shipments of timber from Russia, and the company is now operating its own shipping vessels to maximise efficiency.

The latest round of funding has enabled Carmichael International to press on with expansion plans, in spite of continued economic uncertainty in the UK.

Targeted areas of growth include heavy-duty manufacturing, such as providing composite decking to its existing partners in the garden furniture industry.

Carmichael said: “Our business is in a very healthy position. We’re generating record revenues thanks to exceptionally strong demand from our customers, and we’re excited to expand into new product areas to fuel further growth.

“BFS has been with us every step of the way, and we are hugely grateful that the team bought into our business plan at such an early stage.

“They took the time to delve into the intricacies of our business to structure a funding package that specifically recognised our need to establish strong relationships overseas.

“This attention to detail is complemented by the team’s impressive understanding of the industry and markets we operate in, something which we didn’t receive from other funding providers.”

Chris Crank, relationship Manager at Bibby Financial Services, said: “Carmichael International’s transition to generating multi-million revenues in such a short space of time is hugely commendable.

“The business has developed a highly sophisticated and efficient supply chain and it is no surprise it has established itself as a market leader in the UK.

“We’re very happy to continue working with Sam and his team, and will continue to offer a bespoke, flexible funding service that matches the business’s upward growth trajectory.”