Liverpool-based Blends Ltd, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of specialist food ingredients, has doubled the size of its base in Knowsley Business Park to cater for record client demand.
The move follows £4.6 million in funding from Santander Corporate & Commercial and Merseyside Special Investment Fund (MSIF), with MSIF providing a £200,000 grant through the Regional Growth Fund’s High Growth Business Investment Programme.
A family owned business established in 1998 at a bakery in Liverpool, Blends relocated to Knowsley Business Park in 2012. The firm, which sells approximately 90% of its products to trade customers, has four strands to its business: a range of ‘commodity’ food ingredients such as glycerine and glucose; an array of food flavours; food colourings; and blending/ repacking. The majority of the business is buying liquid food ingredients in bulk and repacking into smaller sizes.
The firm, which was recently awarded Small Business of the Year 2015 at the Knowsley Business Regeneration Awards, has enjoyed strong demand from its expanding base of clients and so needs to double the size of its manufacturing facilities. The new funding from Santander Corporate & Commercial and MSIF will fully support this expansion as well as a planned recruitment drive to increase the number of staff by 17. The firm currently employs 38 staff.
Mike Rowark, Managing Director, Blends Ltd, said: “Blends has benefitted from a focused business model dedicated to supplying our clients with the products and services they need. I would like to think that our service model and product range is second to none in the UK and we continue to have strong ambitions for future growth. The support from Santander Corporate & Commercial and Merseyside Special Investment Fund has been key to this next phase of growth.”
Phillip Roscoe, Relationship Director for Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “The management team at Blends continue to deliver strong year-on-year growth and we’re delighted to be able to support them further. We have worked with the firm since mid-2014 and have been very impressed with the calibre and professionalism of the personnel and product suite.”
Paul Humphray, Investment Director, Merseyside Special Investment Fund, said: “Blends is an established family owned business that has carved out a niche in its chosen sector while developing new markets for its products. The provision of additional space is central to the continued growth of the business via identified opportunities. We are pleased to be supporting the business through the High Growth Business Programme where we have already made offers of £2.35 million out of the £5 million available for investment before 31 March 2017.”