A GRAIN co-operative has landed a seven-figure funding package to help it through seasonal peaks and troughs in supply.
Belford-based Coastal Grains has secured flexible working capital facility which will insulate it against regular changes in global commodity prices.
The package will enable advance payments to members before it sells their grains on the open market – a critical part of its support to the 100-plus farmers within the co-operative.
Coastal Grains boosted its sales from £11.4m last year to £18m in 2012 driven by a recent increase in its grain holding capacity – which now stands in excess of 100,000 tonnes – across its storage facilities on its 20-acre site close to the A1 between Alnwick and Berwick.
CEO Terence Pardoe said: “We operate in an ever-changing market in which we have to address the challenges posed by shifting commodity prices for both grains and input costs like oil.
“The annual harvest and the impact on farmers’ cashflow makes our banking requirements highly seasonal and the need for a tailored package of support and specific sector expertise vital, which is exactly what Lloyds Bank’s team will provide us with.”
Founded in 1982, Coastal Grains dries, conditions, stores and markets combinable crops grown in Northumberland, County Durham and the Scottish Borders.
Although its markets are predominantly in Scotland, it also markets its produce into the rest of the UK and abroad.
Lloyds Bank’s regional trade finance team created a tailored package of support.
This package will allow the co-operative to provide advance payments to members before it sells their grains on the open market.
Andrew Hopper, relationship director for Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking in the North East and North Cumbria, said: “Coastal Grains is a hugely important part of the North East’s agricultural economy, providing the region’s farming sector with direct access to domestic and international grains markets.
“By drawing on the expertise of our trade finance and agricultural specialists we were able to structure a simple suite of products to better suit the unique challenges of its sector.
“Coastal Grain’s management team and board have considerable experience which makes them ideally placed to navigate through the constantly shifting landscape of their market, and we’re delighted to support their growth ambitions.”