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Seafood firm nets bumper finance package backed by government guarantee

Fishing boat Unity.
Fishing boat Unity.

Peterhead fish processor Denholm Seafoods is to benefit from bank support worth an eight-figure sum after a UK Government agency stepped in to offer a £15 million guarantee.

The cash is aimed at growing the firm’s exports, particularly in European and Asian markets.

HSBC UK said its support package was backed by a £15m general export facility (GEF) from UK Export Finance (UKEF), the government’s export credit agency, which typically offers to cover up to 80% of the credit risk.

Four-fifths of Denholms’ fish sold abroad

The total value of the funding package was undisclosed.

GEFs are increasingly used to support credit facilities worth up to £25m.

Denholm Seafoods already exports 80% of its fish – pelagic species such as mackerel and herring.

The rest goes to major retailers in the UK.

Whole mackerel for processing at Denholm Seafoods in Peterhead.

Allan Stephen, a director at the firm, said: “Our growth plans are ambitious and, by utilising this funding, we’re excited to enter new markets and grow in existing ones.

“It is the quality of our product, coupled with this additional funding that will afford us this opportunity.

“As we invest in the future of Denholm Seafoods, we intend to progress the sustainability of our operations, by reducing our environmental impact as we drive the growth of our business forward.”

We hope to see British products in every supermarket in the world.”

Mike Freer, exports minister.

UKEF said its GEF scheme, launched last December, had already provided more than £120m for businesses across the UK.

The agency added: “It has made the government’s support more accessible, allowing Denholm and HSBC UK to take a longer-term view.

Exports minister Mike Freer said: “Scottish seafood is renowned around the world for its quality and focus on sustainability.

“I’m delighted UKEF is helping Denholm grow and sell more to the world.

“We export iconic food and drink products to over 200 countries, supporting jobs and growth.

“With the help of UKEF’s popular new general export facility, we hope to see British products in every supermarket in the world.”

We share Denholm Seafoods’ passion and drive for bringing quality Scottish produce to new markets.”

Stephen Leckie, HSBC.

HSBC UK senior corporate banking manager Stephen Leckie said: “It’s fantastic to help Denholm Seafoods expand the strong export arm of its business.

“The Scottish food and drink sector is a core focus of HSBC UK, and we share Denholm Seafoods’ passion and drive for bringing quality Scottish produce to new markets.

“We look forward to seeing the company’s next chapter as it embarks upon its new investment strategy.”

Four-strong fleet

Denholm Seafoods works with partners who own four modern pelagic trawlers – Challenge, Chris Andra, Taits and Unity – and are collectively major quota-holders of pelagic fish species in Scotland.

The firm is part of Glasgow-based Denholm Group, which also has activities in shipping, logistics and industrial services.

The family-owned group employs more than 1,000 people across about 50 locations.

Established in 1919, UKEF exists to ensure no viable UK export should fail for a lack of finance from the private market.

It provides finance and insurance to help exporters win, fulfil and get paid for export contracts.

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