Sunday, March 3, 2024

£4m funding package sees Millbrook Dairy set sights on European expansion

North Devon-based cheese and butter wholesaler Millbrook Dairy has unveiled plans to expand in Europe following funding from Santander UK.

Santander UK has provided the business, located in Bideford, with a £4m funding package, including working capital, to support its plans to increase sales. Millbrook Dairy has also shifted its day-to-day banking to Santander UK.

Millbrook Dairy is a wholesaler of cheese and butter, sourcing products from across the UK, Ireland and Australasia. Its cheeses include cheddar, Red Leicester, Double Gloucester, Wensleydale, Cheshire, reduced fat, high protein, Gouda, Edam and mozzarella which it sells to fellow cheese specialists, manufacturers and retailers in the UK and Europe, largely the Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, Germany and Poland. It also sells its own brand of Scottish cheddar, 1057, and Irish cheddar, Seanachai.

Currently about 20% of its sales come from its overseas exports, which it plans to double over the next three years. Millbrook Dairy has recently expanded into the trade butter sector, focusing on key areas of the market including butter portions for the ‘fine dining on the go’ market for airlines, railways and cruise liners, and bulk butter for bakeries, patisseries, food service and manufacturing sectors.

Millbrook Dairy’s European growth plans are being propelled by an increase in sales from its office in the Netherlands, from which it sources cheeses locally and sells to the Dutch and wider European markets. Santander UK has provided Millbrook Dairy with a letter of credit to support its European banking activity.

The business has returned consistent growth since it was established in 2018 by Kevin Beer and David Evans, who had previously worked together in the dairy industry for 20 years. Turnover has increased from £15m in January 2020, to £21m in January 2021, to £26m in January 2022. It is on track to achieve annual revenue of £40m in January 2023.

Kevin Beer, Millbrook Dairy co-owner and director, said: “We are delighted to be working with Santander UK as our banking partner as we embark on the next exciting phase in our journey. The £4m funding package it has provided will enable us to amplify and accelerate our growth, allowing us to expand our range, volumes and market reach both domestically and in our export markets overseas.”

Steve Tyers, relationship director at Santander UK, said: “We are proud to have become Millbrook Dairy’s banking partner, supporting the next phase of its growth strategy. Our funding package will help this entrepreneurial business expand further in the European and UK markets and we look forward to working together to deliver growth globally.”

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