Biscuit firm raises cash for growth and 45 new jobs

By Lorraine Mullaney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags New product development Digestive biscuit

Hill Biscuits will create more than 45 new jobs after a loan of £276,000 from the Manchester Investment Fund
Hill Biscuits will create more than 45 new jobs after a loan of £276,000 from the Manchester Investment Fund
A biscuit manufacturer has secured a loan of £276,000 from the Manchester Investment Fund to expand its business and create more than 45 jobs.

Lancashire-based Hill Biscuits borrowed from the £102M fund to extend the warehouse and packing facilities at its factory in Ashton-under-Lyne.

It wants to extend its client base and offer a greater range of product.

Hill Biscuits’ md Steven Wetherby said: “The extension will give us the flexibility we need to produce different pack sizes of biscuit for export.”

The manufacturer supplies retail, foodservice and wholesale contracts in the UK and also exports to the Caribbean. In November 2012 it secured a new contract to export to Australia.

Own-label contracts

Half of its business comes from own-label contracts, which often demand a bespoke approach.

“We’re a very flexible firm,”​ said Wetherby. “We’re a private manufacturer so we can move more quickly than the larger companies and work more closely with our customers. We’re always looking at new ideas and often come up with new product development ourselves.”

Wetherby believes biscuits are a growth area as people have less disposable income at the moment so they’re looking for value products.

“Custard creams and digestives will always be popular because they’re long-standing favourites. Everyday biscuits are a growing market because people have less disposable income.”

The recruitment process has already begun and the new jobs will include production line workers, engineers and new product development staff.

More than 45 full-time staff

Wetherby said: “We’ve already started recruiting and developing the business. We’ll take on more than 45 full-time equivalent staff.

“We did make a specific aim to work with the job centre to take on at least between 60–80% of our staff from the long-term unemployed. Of the ones we’ve already taken on trial, the majority are still with us so it looks to be working out. The people put forward were keen to work.”

Greater Manchester Investment Fund is run by the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership and Greater Manchester Combined Authority. It targets schemes that drive job creation and economic growth.

Hill Biscuits timeline

1855​ John and Sarah Hill start the business with a shop in Dukinfield

1889​ Manufacturing develops on a larger scale

1894​ Foundation stone for Tudno Mill in Ashton-under-Lyne is laid by Sarah Hill

1906​ It becomes a limited company

1969​ Rowntrees buys the business

1980​ Rowntrees decides to sell the business and management arrange a buy-in

Related topics Bakery

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