The importance of investment with conscience

Andrew Hayes, Allan Wood and Andy Cocker at the new Abbeydale Food production unit in Scunthorpe
Andrew Hayes, Allan Wood and Andy Cocker at the new Abbeydale Food production unit in Scunthorpe
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It has more than doubled turnover in a year, to £10m, and employment has leapt from 65 to 150 - no wonder Abbeydale Food Group is grateful for its funding.

The prepared food company - famous for Denby Dale Pies - has several sites, including South Kirby between Barnsley and Doncaster, and sells to supermarkets and shops.

It raised more than £1m to move its North Lincolnshire base to large premises, buy equipment and use as working capital.

Some £500,000 came from UK Steel Enterprise.

Andrew Hayes, managing director of Abbeydale Food Group said: “We would not have been able to do what we have done without UK Steel Enterprise.

“We currently employ 150 people, have doubled in size over this past year and expect to have trebled in size at the end of the coming year.

“During difficult times with finance hard to access, UK Steel Enterprise has not only come up with the vital funding but also with creative ideas and great options for us. UKSE is now represented on our board and integral to our business.”

The move follows the company’s acquisition of Pie Toms and its Easi-Peasy brand earlier this year. The company’s subsidiaries include Saxon Quality Foods and Chapel Foods, which produces the Denby Dale Pies. Abbeydale raised finance from existing shareholders, loan and mortgage finance from Lloyds TSB Commercial Banking, with additional finance from Finance Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire Council’s Regional Growth Fund scheme.

UKSE regional manager Keith Williams said: “Abbeydale is a great example of the type of company that we love to invest in – a business with a strong and ambitious management team, which has created valuable jobs and has opportunities to grow.”

The organisation was set to increase the size of its maximum investment to £1.5m, he added.

He added: “We want to focus more on equity investments which reduce the amount of money companies have to find to service debt.”