Dean’s of Huntly Boosts Global Presence with Finance Support

Dean’s of Huntly, a renowned producer of traditional Scottish shortbread, has successfully utilised trade finance provided by Virgin Money, guaranteed by UK Export Finance (UKEF), to cater to growing overseas demand, particularly in markets as distant as Australia and China

With key seasonal occasions, such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Chinese New Year driving significant spikes in demand, the company required additional capital to meet these needs efficiently.

UK Export Finance played a pivotal role in enabling Dean’s to secure financing through its General Export Facility (GEF) product. Launched in 2020, the GEF has facilitated over £325 million in new working capital loans for UK exporters. 

Due to this,the funding agreement, reached in 2023, allowed Dean’s to ramp up production to fulfil seasonal shipments and produce special-edition tins.

The CEO of Dean’s of Huntly emphasised the importance of the GEF facility in managing the working capital implications of large export orders. They stated that with shipping times extending up to 3-4 months before payment is received, the ability to draw down funds as needed and repay them when not required has been instrumental. 

What’s more, this functionality has empowered Dean’s to pursue more customers in the United States and expand its presence in the Far East and Europe.

The support from UKEF and Virgin Money has not only facilitated export growth but also enabled Dean’s to invest in new equipment and create up to 20 new jobs. The CEO highlighted the flexibility of the GEF, noting that it can be used not only to fund overseas sales but also to hire additional staff and invest in new equipment. 

These investments are crucial for improving production processes and reducing the company’s environmental impact.

In addition to supporting short-term capital needs, the GEF funding has allowed Dean’s to develop and market special-edition tins, which have become particularly popular during festive seasons. This strategic move has further solidified Dean’s reputation as a premium shortbread producer and increased its market share in competitive international markets.

UKEF’s CEO lauded Dean’s as a distinctly Scottish brand beloved worldwide, underscoring the agency’s commitment to helping them achieve continued export success. They expressed that Dean’s of Huntly exemplifies the kind of entrepreneurial spirit that UKEF is proud to support.

They then went on to add that their success is a testament to the quality of Scottish products and the potential for international growth.

The overwhelming majority of UKEF’s deals support smaller businesses like Dean’s, ensuring that entrepreneurs across the country can benefit from international trade. UKEF has a history of supporting Scottish food and drink firms, including organic distillery Nc’nean and seafood exporter Denholm Seafoods

The agency’s ability to fast-track applications for financing facilities worth up to £10 million has been a boon for many such companies.

Recently, UKEF outlined its ambitious 2024-29 Business Plan, which includes a commitment to help UK exporters secure more than £12.5 billion in new contracts by 2029. 

In collaboration with the Department for Business and Trade, British Business Bank, and local Chambers of Commerce, UKEF aims to support 1,000 SMEs annually over the next five years, ensuring robust growth and international success for British businesses.

The impact of this financing on Dean’s of Huntly has been profound. Not only has it allowed the company to meet the surging demand during peak seasons, but it has also provided the financial stability needed to plan for long-term growth. 

What’s more, the introduction of new production equipment has streamlined operations, reduced waste, and enhanced the overall quality of their products.

Moreover, the creation of new jobs has had a positive ripple effect on the local community, providing employment opportunities and contributing to the regional economy. Dean’s commitment to environmental sustainability, supported by the GEF, has also positioned the company as a forward-thinking leader in the food and drink industry.

To conclude, Dean’s of Huntly’s success story exemplifies the critical support provided by UKEF and Virgin Money in helping UK companies navigate the complexities of global trade, secure necessary financing, and achieve substantial growth in international markets. 

As Dean’s continues to expand its global footprint, it remains a shining example of how targeted financial support can drive export success and foster economic growth.

News Credits: Scottish shortbread manufacturer secures £750k to help drive exports

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