HSBC pumps cash into cheese maker

By Rod Addy contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cheese

Lye Cross Farm makes a variety of Cheddar and territorial cheeses
Lye Cross Farm makes a variety of Cheddar and territorial cheeses
HSBC has pumped millions of pounds into Somerset cheese manufacturer Lye Cross Farm, which it claims will boost production by 1,000t a year to 4,500t to meet growing demand.

The bank’s Devon and Somerset commercial team agreed the seven-figure finance package, which the cheesemaker is investing in upgrading its packing facility.

“We’re in the process of an expansion to the packing hall, which will be completed in the New Year,”​ md Peter Alvis told FoodManufacture.co.uk. “We’re going to be able to pack in a wider range of formats – snack portions up to 1kg flow wrap.”

He said he expected the facility to create an extra four or five jobs at the company, which commands an annual turnover of more than £25M, a quarter of which is generated by overseas sales. The development would double packing capacity, from 80,000 units to 160,000 units a day, he added.

‘Bringing up to modern standards’

The cash is also being used to revamp its milking parlour, enabling it to more than double the number of cattle it can milk, from 400 to 900 at peak times. “The old plant was 30-something years old, so we’re really bringing that up to the modern standards we need to be achieving.”

In addition to the HSBC funding, Alvis said Lye Cross Farm was also receiving financial support for exporting via UK Trade & Investment. That included help with trade shows and targeting the right markets, he explained.

The business currently traded with more than 35 countries, including Korea, the US, Dubai, South Africa and Saudi Arabia and was eyeing markets in the Far East, said Alvis.

‘New international markets’

In a press statement, he said: “Our aim is to grow both turnover and profitability over the next 18 months, and of course opening up new international markets will be key to that.”

Lye Cross Farm is a third generation family business producing a variety of organic and conventional Cheddar and UK territorial cheeses for customers including Sainsbury, Asda and Ocado.

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