Heritage Foods expands in economic uncertainty

Meat importer Heritage Foods has announced that a partnership with Clydesdale Bank could boost its existing £24m turnover to a new substantial level.

The Maidstone company expects to increase turnover by around 25% – topping £30m within a year – by making greater use of import loans and an expanded invoice finance facility, which will allow it to pay its overseas suppliers on better terms.

Heritage specialises in importing meats for the wholesale butchers trade and major foodservice groups, sourcing and supplying the meats that are then served in pubs, restaurants and hotels up and down the country

MD John Smith said: “All the meat we import from Australia, New Zealand and South America has to be paid for upfront, but we don’t get paid by our customers here until after they take delivery of their meat.

“We need some way of bridging that gap and invoice financing enables us to do that. Clydesdale Bank supplies a letter of credit and then, as soon as we raise the invoice to the customer, we can use the funds released through invoice financing to pay the supplier.”

Clydesdale Bank has arranged an Invoice Finance facility with an enhanced £3.5m limit for Heritage, backed up by an International Trade line of £1.25m.

However Smith added that the attraction of a more supportive banking relationship was also an important motivation for switching lenders.

Martin White, business partner at Clydesdale’s financial solutions centre in Maidstone, said: “This business has gone from a start-up to a turnover comfortably in excess of £20m in a little over five years, so it has been a fantastic success.

“The team at Heritage is keen to push on to the next level and our international products will help them to do that. These are people who know their industry inside out and we are always looking to support businesses with strong management teams.”

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